HC Deb 16 May 1994 vol 243 c552
33. Mr. Viggers

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, how many churches are currently administered under the redundant churches scheme.

Mr. Alison

At the end of April 1994, 290 churches were vested in the Churches Conservation Trust, formerly the Redundant Churches Fund, for preservation.

Mr. Viggers

Bearing in mind the fact that these interesting and lovely buildings are national assets and have moved away from religious use, does my right hon. Friend think that it would be appropriate for the Church Commissioners to ask for a revision of the formula whereby the state pays 70 per cent. of maintenance costs and the Church Commissioners 30 per cent?

Mr. Alison

I do not rule out an approach to secure a revision of the formula, but it would be tempting providence to do so immediately, since the formula has just increased substantially in favour of the Church Commissioners, from 50 to 70 per cent. Before we press for it to rise to 90 per cent., we should digest the advantageous terms that we enjoy at present through the good offices of the Department of the Environment.

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