18 March 2015
Many more historic churches will be able to complete essential repairs thanks to an increase included in today's Budget.
In his Budget speech to the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a further £40million to the Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund. This new money brings the total funding package made available to £55million.
The initial scheme is now closed but has been extended by a further £15m, bringing the total funding package to £30million, giving awards to more applicants than originally anticipated. All these awards will be announced before the end of March 2015.
The Fund will then reopen to new applications later this year, making awards from the additional £25m allocation during 2016. Any applicants who were unsuccessful during the first round of awards will be required to reapply.
The Bishop of Worcester, Rt Revd Dr John Inge, lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings said:
"We are enormously grateful to the Chancellor for the generous promise of more funding following the heavily oversubscribed Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund and First World War Centenary Cathedral Repair Fund. The nation's churches and cathedrals are irreplaceable historic buildings which are important both to worshippers and the wider communities. This new funding will mean that many more parishes will be able to complete essential repairs to their churches to continue to serve their communities well into the future.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Most Revd Justin Welby responded to the announcement on Twitter, saying:
"Trebling of money for church repairs will create local skilled jobs, improve community facilities and protect heritage, most welcome"
The announcement of additional funding for the urgent repair of roofs and rainwater goods on church buildings was made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his Budget speech today. This follows the £15 million announced for the Roof Repair Fund in the 2014 Autumn Statement and £20 million for the First World War Centenary Cathedral Repair Fund announced in the 2014 Budget. It is a welcome response to overwhelming demand, demonstrated when 1,900 responses were received from listed places of worship of all faiths and denominations across the UK during an eight-week application period for the church Roof Repair Fund.
Janet Gough, Director of ChurchCare said: "We extend our thanks to the National Heritage Memorial Fund, who have made every effort to fulfil the church Roof Repair Fund grant assessments in an extremely tight timeframe, following the overwhelming demand."
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