HC Deb 02 July 1979 vol 969 cc460-1W
Sir Nicholas Bonsor

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is intending to mitigate the effect of the increase in VAT upon the church by zero-rating repairs to churches and places of worship.

Mr. Peter Rees

, pursuant to his reply [Official Report, 27 June 1979], gave the following answer:

I am conscious that the cost of these repairs will have risen with the recent increase in the rate of VAT, but I regret that we have not felt able to propose a special relief of the kind suggested. Quite apart from the administration and borderline problems that would be caused for both the building industry and Customs and Excise by any concession singling out this particular type of repair and maintenance work, such a relief would be difficult to justify in the absence of comparable relief for other types of property which may arguably be no less worthy of consideration. A broad-based tax like VAT does not lend itself to the provision of particular and narrow reliefs of the kind suggested. My hon. Friend will be aware of the assistance already provided by the Government in the form of grants and reliefs from direct taxation.