The President of the Historic Houses Association has beseeched the Government to give its 1,600 members a tax break to help with their collective repair bill of £1.37bn.
Richard Compton wrote into the Sunday Times to hit back at this article about the tax arrangements surrounding Lord Howe’s 1550-acre Penn Estate in Buckinghamshire, and to highlight the plight of owners of heritage homes across the country.
“The millions that are spent by house-owners on repairs help to boost local economies”, said Compton, “as does the £1bn generated from 24m tourist visits to historic homes in private hands (two-thirds of which is spent with local businesses.”
£500m of that £1.37bn repair bill is now “urgent”, he claimed, and although we’ve moved on from the days when country houses were “under constant threat of demolition”, the conditional exemption tax scheme is “vital to ensuring the most important assets have a long term future”.
“Far from questioning the merits of conditional exemption,” he added, “the government might be asked to look at other cost-effective ways in which the preservation of our heritage can be encouraged through the tax system.”