On 21st May 2020, Lord Cormack asked the Government “what steps they are taking to support (1) museums, (2) galleries, and (3) historic buildings open to the public, affected by the restrictions in place to address the COVID-19 pandemic”. The Bishop of Portsmouth, Rt Revd Christopher Foster, spoke in the debate:
Lord Bishop of Portsmouth: My Lords, the Church of England alone has 16,000 church buildings, over 12,000 of which are listed. We are at the bedrock of our communities and thus can be at the heart of recovery. I therefore make three points. First, we are rich in assets, but the pandemic means that income is plummeting, and budgets were already tight. I therefore urge the Government at least to remove VAT on repairs to historic buildings.
Secondly, government often brackets us with the hospitality industry. Are we hospitable? I hope so. Are we historic? Yes. Does such categorisation meet our distinct needs? No.
Thirdly, the Church encompasses buildings and people. Our impact on people will define us, so how we respond pastorally to the pandemic from our buildings will leave the deepest impression.
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On 7th July 2016 Rt Hon Caroline Spelman MP answered questions from MPs in the House of Commons, in her capacity as Second Church Estates Commissioner. Questions were asked on out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, bishops in the House of Lords, poverty and church toilets.
Mr Speaker: Order. We come now to questions to the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), representing the Church Commissioners, and to the right hon. Member for South West Devon—[Interruption.] I mean the hon. Member for South West Devon (Mr Streeter)—it is only a matter of time—representing the Speaker’s Committee on the Electoral Commission.
The right hon. Member for Meriden, representing the Church Commissioners was asked— Continue reading “Church Commissioner questions: Out of school settings, human trafficking, women bishops, House of Lords, poverty, church toilets”
On the Friday 6th March the Second Church Estates Commissioner, the Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry, answered a written question from the conservative MP James Gray on the subject of the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund.
Continue reading “Church Commissioner Question – Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund (Written Answer)”