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Churches: Grants

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 22 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s available funds on grants to church buildings; and if he will make a statement. (247835)

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has always recognised that places of worship are a very special part of the United Kingdom’s heritage, and it therefore continues to ring-fence funds for them. Although the Fund’s grant budgets will reduce from 2009-13, a higher proportion of its overall budget has been set aside in recognition of the role these buildings play in community life.

The Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage remain committed to providing grants to historic places of worship. The joint Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage funding scheme has offered over £133 million for the repair of historic places of worship since it began in 2002. In 2009, £25 million will be offered to listed places of worship: £17.5 million will go to Grade I and II* buildings, and £7.5 million to Grade II buildings. £15 million of this is provided by the HLF, and £10 million by EH. Both bodies anticipate continuing this grant scheme at its current level until 2010-11.