§ Lord Newall
asked Her Majesty's Government:
Whether they will make state funding available towards the costs of repairs to cathedral buildings.
§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of the Environment (Baroness Blatch)
: The Government fully recognise the importance of historic cathedral buildings to the nation's heritage. The White Paper This Common Inheritance published on 25th September set out the Government's belief that, while public appeals and private donations should continue to be the major source of funding, English Heritage's building repair grants should, in principle, be extended to cathedrals and comparable buildings of other denominations. This agreement in principle to funding for cathedral buildings was welcomed by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury.
I am therefore pleased to say that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the Environment has now agreed that additional funds for English Heritage will be made available for this purpose from 1991/92. There remains much detailed work to be done by the Department of the Environment, English Heritage and the church authorities to ensure that the new grant regime is directed towards buildings most in need and that the relevant church authorities are fully involved in the operation of the scheme.
This new financial support towards the costs of repairing some of the most outstanding examples of the nation's heritage, in addition to English Heritage's planned 1991/92 budget of £24 million for other ecclesiastical and secular building grants, is further proof of the Government's commitment to assist the preservation of historically and architecturally important buildings for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations.