Ditties by dean’s wife give voice to anti-VAT campaign

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The wife of the Dean of Wakefield has been invited to write and perform a new anti-VAT ditty for St Bride’s in London’s Fleet Street.

Pamela Greener has released two protest songs, as part of a campaign to stop the Government introducing VAT on listed buildings alterations, which have become a surprise hit on YouTube attracting almost 20,000 visitors since the first one was posted a month ago.

Wakefield Cathedral – which has just started a major restoration programme – faces the prospect of having to raise another £200,000 in order to pay the VAT.

Mrs Greener has written the new song, called “Big Society Buildings ditty” to perform with St Bride’s 12-strong choir tomorrow.

The Venerable David Meara, Rector of St Bride’s and Archdeacon of London, invited her to write a new song to help in his attack on the Government’s VAT proposals.

St Bride’s recently launched an appeal which aims to raise at least £2.5m for essential repairs to the fabric of the Grade 1 listed building in the heart of the City of London. It has committed its entire reserves for the year to the appeal and the proposed VAT rise will have a severe impact on fundraising.

Mrs Greener’s latest offering tackles the issue more broadly demonstrating support for churches and other listed buildings around the country.

The Rector told the Yorkshire Post: “This measure, designed to stop very rich people from escaping VAT on expensive home alterations is, in fact, a clumsy measure that will be a heritage tax on the custodians of historic buildings.

“These buildings, including our churches, are part of our rich architectural heritage, and bring added value to our landscape, our economy and our social and community life.

“This tax will hit all those who use listed buildings to further their work of community building. If government is serious about supporting economic growth, localism and all those institutions who contribute to the Big Society agenda, it should be assisting, not undermining the use of listed buildings.

“We are delighted to welcome Pamela Greener to St Bride’s on Sunday.

“As the ‘parish pump’ of journalists, it is an entirely appropriate place for this issue to be debated generally, quite apart from the affect it will have on our own fundraising efforts,” he added.

A petition has been started and people can add their names at the website: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32056