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Church Commissioners

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 28 October 2021

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—

England’s Historic Cathedrals: Cost of Maintenance

4. What estimate the Commissioners have made of the annual cost of maintaining England’s historic cathedrals; and if he will make a statement. (903900)

I should like to start by commending my hon. Friend for the consistent way in which he sticks up for his cathedral in Lichfield. Other Members could follow his example, if I may say so. In 2019, England’s 42 Anglican cathedrals estimated that they required £140 million for repairs and maintenance over the next five years. The Church Commissioners are providing from the cathedral sustainability fund £20 million between 2020 and 2022, which is double the original planned figure.

I thank my hon. Friend for his kind comments and for his answer. Lichfield cathedral costs around £2 million a year to run. In good years, it is able to set aside a few hundred thousand pounds each year to try to repair the damage being done to an 800-year-old building by the usual environmental impacts. It is not making the £2 million, because we are still recovering from covid, so is there any chance of the recovery fund continuing?

The Church is very grateful to the Government for the culture recovery fund allocation for cathedrals of £29.4 million, of which £264,000 has been allocated to Lichfield cathedral. I would like to commend Gloucester cathedral’s Beacon of Hope appeal, which has raised more than £1 million. There has been a £3.1 million investment in craft training between the Cathedrals Workshop Fellowship and the Hamish Ogston Foundation, and cathedral gins have been launched at Blackburn, Portsmouth, Ripon and Bristol cathedrals in order to raise further funds. These are all examples that other cathedrals could follow.