Karl McCartney(Lincoln): To ask the right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church of England has made an assessment of the effect of the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund on the fabric of English cathedrals.
Dame Caroline Spelman: The First World War Centenary Cathedral Repairs Fund has currently allocated £3.45 million of the £40 million total. This has so far enabled 116 vital repair and restoration projects across 57 Anglican and Catholic cathedrals to be undertaken.
Lincoln Cathedral has received £1.18 million for repairs to turrets and roofs, typical of the costs faced for high-level cathedral repairs involving extraordinarily complicated scaffolding. These repairs have gone a long way to complete the major repairs but with any building of this size and age constant maintenance is needed.
The final grants are currently being processed. As the grants scheme comes to a close, there will be a programme of formal evaluation to assess the wider social and economic benefits the projects have contributed, such as increased employment, training, volunteer opportunities and tourism. A copy of this evaluation will be made available to all Members early in 2018 so as to ensure it covers all works the Fund has invested in.