Sir Tony Baldry welcomes investment in Cathedrals

On 27th November 2014, the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, asked a supplementary question about funding for cathedrals during questions to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The exchange is reproduced in full below.14.01 CCQ Baldry


Mr Robin Walker (Worcester): What recent funding his Department has provided for the fabric of cathedrals in England. [906279]

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (Sajid Javid): In this year’s Budget, the Chancellor announced a £20 million fund to allow cathedrals to undertake urgent repair work. As my hon. Friend knows, that included £330,000 for the beautiful Worcester cathedral. In addition, cathedrals have access to the listed places of worship grant scheme, which has a budget of up to £42 million per annum.

Mr Walker: I am grateful for that answer. May I add my condolences on the tragic death of Phil Hughes, who is fondly remembered in Worcestershire, where he used to play? I was pleased recently to welcome the Secretary of State to Worcester cathedral for a magnificent performance of Shakespeare. Will he join me in celebrating the fact that, in the year that Bishop John of Worcester has taken the lead for the Church of England on cathedrals and church buildings, the east window at Worcester cathedral will be being restored with that grant of £330,000?

Sajid Javid: May I first say to my hon. Friend that I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the cathedral with him and seeing “Julius Caesar”. It is an excellent demonstration of how our cathedrals can be open to so many activities in our local communities. In fact, I have seen similar events recently at Rochester and Portsmouth cathedrals. With regard to Bishop John, I was actually just discussing that very matter with His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday, and I join my hon. Friend in warmly congratulating the bishop on his position.

Sir Tony Baldry (Banbury): I warmly thank the Secretary of State for the £20 million grant for cathedrals, which has enabled some 41 cathedrals to carry out various works and repairs from fixing leaking roofs, repairing stained-glass windows and spires and carrying out many other important works to enable them to commemorate the centenary celebrations. Does my right hon. Friend agree that cathedrals are powerful symbols of our shared history and are also the envy of the world? They bring in many tourists, so this investment by the state in our cathedrals is great value for taxpayers.

Sajid Javid: Yes, I agree fully with my right hon. Friend. He will know that of the £20 million we allocated in that grant, £13 million has been used so there is still about £7 million left to go. I urge other cathedrals to take advantage of that and to work to help their local communities.