WITH regard to the £1m. shortfall in Pendle Council’s finances, I think I might have discovered an answer to the problem.
This may come as a surprise to many council taxpayers, but I have it on good authority (though Pendle Council claim to be unable to confirm this) there are currently more than 1,200 buildings listed as being places of worship in the Pendle area, thus avoiding the necessity to pay council tax.
At first glance, this would seem to be a ludicrously high figure, that is until you realise the majority of these buildings are private dwellings with a room designated as a prayer room.
By simply ending this iniquitous distinction and returning to a system that defines only recognised churches and mosques as places of worship, there woiuld be savings, by my (admittedly rough) calculations of around £1m..
There is much more I could say on the subject but I’m off to paint a cross on the door of my spare bedroom and claim it is a place of worship. If you can’t beat ‘em ...
Wheatley Lane Road, Barrowford
A Pendle Council spokesman said: “There are certain exempted properties, including places of worship, which are not listed on either the council tax list or national non-domestic rating list.
“These lists are compiled and maintained by the Valuation Office Agency.
“Billing authorities, including Pendle Council, only hold records of the properties contained in these lists.
“You must be able to prove to Pendle Council and the Valuation Office Agency a building is a place of worship.
“Pendle Council does not have a record of any person who has tried to register a residential property as a place of worship.”