Boston Stump trustees hit out at VAT hike

FUTURE development and restoration of Boston Stump could be at risk following a proposed VAT hike on repairs to listed buildings.

The Government’s recent Budget included proposals to increase the current zero-rated charge on building alterations to 20 per cent.

“These measures could have a very serious impact on St Botolphs Church’s future development plans,” said Peter Coleman, clerk to the trustees at the Boston Stump Restoration Fund.

“This is real blow to those seeking to maintain and develop their churches, including providing improved lavatory, kitchen, disabled and energy-saving facilities to enable them to be used more widely by visitors and the local community.”

The 700-year-old St Botolph’s Church has recently received a £250,000 grant to pay for a revamp and new facilities – its biggest investment for 150 years.

Mr Coleman said the proposed VAT increase will not affect the current development works, which were contracted before the budget was set.

Work on this is already underway, with the new Stump shop nearing completion. New offices, a new café and toilet facilities are to be installed by mid-May.

Mr Coleman is urging people to sign an e-petition calling for the zero per cent VAT rate to be retained.

There are about 350,000 listed buildings in the UK – all of which could be affected by the change in VAT.

Mr Coleman added: “This increase will affect future plans we have for the church, as we could have to find that extra 20 per cent for everything we do. It may mean some of the ideas we have for the future may not go ahead.”

l To sign the petition visit http:/epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32229.