Those with works on site, or due on site, under the Listed Places of Worship Grant (LPWG) Scheme are facing serious financial challenges under the scheme’s new arrangements.
Heritage Alliance reports:
The changes to the way the LPWG Scheme operates introduced in March 2011 are having serious implications for many historic places of worship which currently have works on site, or about to go on site, and are submitting claims to the Scheme. Many of these projects have had budgets worked out and have received grants calculated on the basis of receiving 100% of eligible VAT, meaning they will suffer considerable shortfalls.
As part of the 2010 Spending Review, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that the LPWG Scheme would continue in the 2011/12 to 2014/15 Spending Period with a fixed capped annual budget of around £12m per year as follows: 2011/12: £7.081m, 2012/13: £12.325m, 2013/14: £12.679m and 2014/15: £13.015m.
In order to keep strictly within these budgets the new Scheme now operates with quarterly fixed budgets with payments made once a quarter. The payable rate depends on the value of eligible claims received in that quarter, with each claim attracting a fair pro-rata payment. This method of delivering the Scheme was agreed upon after extensive consultation between DCMS, the Church of England and other denominations.
The payment rate for the first two quarters from 1 April until 30 September has just been announced as 71.7261%, and the breakdown is as follows: during the period 1 April to 30 September LPWGS received 1,577 applications, of which 1,218 were agreed as eligible. This came to £4,826,568.16 of eligible claims. After administration charges the budget/amount paid out was £3,461,913.71 (71.7261%) – a shortfall of over £1million.