Threat to impose VAT on listed buildings

Picture of tower
St Mary's Church is a listed building and our church community works hard to help preserve it as a vital resource for the people of Islington. The following article is from the Diocese of London's website:
The Church of England has created an e-petition calling on the Chancellor to bring back zero rate VAT to alterations to the CofE's 12,500 listed churches.
The e-petition can be signed online now at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/32229
The petition is in response to the recent launch of a consultation by HM Revenue & Customs on VAT charging to approved alterations to listed buildings, which closes on 4 May 2012. 
In a letter to the Chancellor, Anne Sloman, chair of the Church Buildings Council, writes that a very large proportion of the alterations to listed churches "are concerned with making these buildings viable for use by the wide community… The imposition of 20 per cent VAT on this work means in practice most of it will simply stop… it seems that this VAT proposal was aimed at householders and that the implications for the Church were not fully understood." 
The Bishop of London and the Second Church Estates Commissioner, Tony Baldry MP, have also written letters to the Chancellor to voice serious concerns about the proposed imposition of VAT on alterations to listed buildings.