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Parish Council discretionary grants for churches

Published: 4th January 2024

A change to the law which came into effect on 26 December should make it easier for PCCs to apply to parish councils for funding for items such as churchyard maintenance and clock maintenance.

Over the years, many parish councils have given discretionary grants to church buildings, church halls, graveyards and other church property, of all denominations, to help these buildings and other property provide benefit to the community. However, advice issued by the National Association of Local Councils suggested that this was unlawful due to a provision in the Local Government Act 1972 overriding a previous 1894 Act.

Following lobbying by the Church Buildings Council to rectify this anomaly, the Levelling Up and Regeneration Act 2023 provided an opportunity to clarify the law. An amendment proposed by the Bishop of Bristol (the lead bishop for church buildings) was accepted by the government and gained Royal Assent during December. This will re-empower the 1894 Act’s powers so that it cannot be countered by any other Act.

Church Buildings Officer, Mark Carter said:

“This is good news for our churches. There is no guarantee that parish councils will automatically return with the funding that was stopped, but it will allow PCCs to re-enter discussions in the knowledge that the legal issues have been dealt with.  PCCs will still need to clearly state the community benefit of any request for funding.”

Find a summary of the whole issue on the website of the Historic Religious Buildings Alliance.

Contact the Church Buildings Team for advice on applying for funding to help improve your church and churchyard for the benefit of the local community.

 

Page last updated: Thursday 4th January 2024 9:19 AM

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