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Friday, January 30, 1998 Published at 03:56 GMT


3m for cathedral repairs
image: [ Worcester Cathedral: one of 23 cathedrals to get a grant ]
Worcester Cathedral: one of 23 cathedrals to get a grant

English Heritage has pledged 3m, the highest level of grant awarded so far, for vital repair work on 23 cathedrals - despite a Government cut in its budget.

Chairman Sir Joceyln Stevens, speaking at Salisbury Cathedral, said that he was faced with a further cut of 16.6m or 15% in real terms.

[ image: Joceyln Stevens: increase in grants despite funding cuts]
Joceyln Stevens: increase in grants despite funding cuts
"I have chosen to come to one of the world's greatest ecclesiastical buildings, Salisbury Cathedral, to announce that despite a 2m cut for 1998/99 to 102m, my commissioners have agreed to restore our level of support to the cathedrals to 3m.

"This represents an increase of 1m above this year and it will be shared by 23 cathedrals.

"Salisbury will receive the largest grant of 528,000. These new offers of grant will take the total funding of England's cathedrals by English Heritage since our Cathedral Grant Scheme began in 1991 to 27.5m."


The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Chris Smith, praised English Heritagefor an impressive increase in earnings from properties.

He said he was grateful to Sir Jocelyn for his positive response to the unavoidable cash constraints he had had to impose this year.

"I cannot pre-empt the results of the Expenditure Review in which I am now engaged, but the built heritage is a vital part of our national culture and I will ensure that support for it continues to form one of the priorities for the future."

[ image: Repair work is already underway at Salisbury Cathedral]
Repair work is already underway at Salisbury Cathedral
The Dean of Salisbury Cathedral, the Very Reverend Derek Watson, said: "We are part way through a 20-year programme of major repairs which have reached the Eastern roofs at one end of the building and great West Front at the other.

"Without the generous support we receive at the rate of around 70% from English Heritage, this programme of work would come to a stop."

Since it was founded in 1220, Salisbury Cathedral has been the focus of more than 770 years of Christian community life. King Henry III was present at its consecration and it is the subject of world famous paintings by Constable and Turner.

Other grants offered for 1998/99 are Ely 390,000; Worcester 329,000; Lincoln 317,000; Wells 145,000; Hereford 139,000; Durham 135,000; Gloucester 113,000; Peterborough 102,000; Norwich CE 100,000; St Albans 84,000; Carlisle 69,000; Exeter 56,000; Truro 50,000; Southwark RC 45,000; Birmingham RC 22,000; Sheffield CE 19,000; Southwark CE 13,000; Chichester 13,000; Ripon 11,000; Bristol 10,000; Leicester 10,000; Norwich RC 8,000.

The remaining 0.3 million of new offers will be allocated during 1998/99.

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