Monday, 27 July 2015 00:00

Budget brings woe for village halls

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Budget brings woe for village halls

VILLAGE halls face higher running costs due to inadvertent consequences from this summer's Budget.

A rise in Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) rise from 6 to 9.5% will mean a typical village hall with a £1,000 premium will pay an extra £35 per year - and bring IPT payments close to £200 per year for a larger hall.

The £500,000 generated for the government will come from hire charges paid by small voluntary groups, say village hall representatives.

The National Village Halls Forum, which represents more than 9,000 village halls in England, is arguing that village halls should either be exempt from the insurance increase or that the revenue raised should be used to help trustees share information.

Forum vice chairman Alan West, of Ringmer Village Hall, East Sussex, said discussions needed to be opened about how a grant scheme might operate, the benefits of the scheme and confirm the funding required.

He added: "The estimated funding of £7,000,000 is less than other Budget allocations for similar initiatives and it would spread small but important economic and social benefits throughout the UK."

The Budget also saw an increase in extra free childcare hours from 15 to 30 hours. Mr West said this was good news for many families but it too had unforeseen consequences for village halls.

"Many village halls will be unable to meet this commitment because they do not have the separate toilet, kitchen and meeting facilities for other daytime users," he said.

"Such work needs budgetary provision to support halls to adapt to accommodate increased childcare hours. However, yet again, payment for this work will incur irrecoverable VAT."

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