During a House of Commons debate on the Budget statement, Rt Hon Canon Sir Tony Baldry MP welcomed the announcement of extra funding for church roof repairs, in his capacity as the Second Church Estates Commissioner:
I should firstly, in my capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner, and soon to be Chair of the Church Buildings Council, like very sincerely to thank the Chancellor the £40 million announced in the Budget towards the repairs of church roofs. This is in addition to the £15 million for the Church Roof Funds made available by the Chancellor a little while ago and £20 million made available for repairs to our cathedrals.
So in the last year, the Chancellor has made £75 million for the repair and restoration of cathedrals and churches.
This is, of course, in addition to the money the Chancellor made available earlier in this Parliament to offset for churches and cathedrals the costs of VAT on repairs and renovation.
I can think of no similar time when any Chancellor has made available such sums for church and cathedral repair.
For many people the presence of a church in their community is symbolic of the nation and a source of support and comfort even for those who are not regular church-goers, and we are constantly seeing what more we can do to make church buildings more serviceable to the wider community so that they can be used as much as possible, and not simply for Sunday worship.
Not surprisingly, immediately after the Budget statement the Archbishop of Canterbury tweeted:
“money for church repairs will create local skilled jobs, improve community facilities and protect heritage, most welcome”.
The full speech, which was Sir Tony’s final one delivered in Parliament, is on his website, here.