DONORS who have given money to help restore Chichester Cathedral can now breathe a sigh of relief following actions by the government.
The government is granting £30m into a fund to help the repair of churches.
This decision follows an angry reaction to government’s announcement last week to introduce VAT at 20 per cent on work to repair historic buildings.
The budget measure led to anger and now churches are being compensated for the tax on repairs.
The Very Rev Nicholas Frayling, dean of Chichester, said: “The announcement that there is to be a fund to compensate for the removal of zero rating VAT is of course good news. However, this would have to be applied for and is therefore likely to be discretionary.”
The government’s budget measures caused anger last week, leading to petitions being signed demanding the measure was reconsidered.
The £30m allocated by the government will be placed into the existing Listed Places of Worship grant scheme, which will receive £42m a year, guaranteed for the next three years.
VAT, however will apply to listed building alterations from October.
The move is being welcomed by those involved in the restoration of Chichester Cathedral.
Director of Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust Alison Godfrey, said: “This is a very positive response, a lot of the work we undertake is very specialist and therefore costs a lot of money, this is a very positive step from the government. We were hopeful the government would reconsider and this is a positive outcome for us.”
She added: “Without this change it makes a difficult job much harder, it is very difficult to raise donations, this is very good news for us.”
Restoration work that has taken place at Chichester Cathedral in the past includes a special weathervane on the top of the cathedral’s spire and the stabilising of Tudor paintings in the cathedral.