HC Deb 30 April 2001 vol 367 cc642-4
33. Mr. John Bercow (Buckingham)

If he will make a statement on his support for the work of the Churches Conservation Trust. [158172]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

The Churches Conservation Trust, jointly financed by Church and public funds, was set up by statute in 1969 to preserve in the interests of the nation and the Church of England redundant churches of historic, architectural or archaeological quality for which no suitable alternative use can be found. More than 320 such churches now vest in the trust.

Mr. Bercow

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his characteristically informative reply. Since 1 May 1997, how many churches that otherwise would have been doomed have been conserved as a result of the work of the trust? What representations has he received about the aesthetic merit or demerit of that work, and will he offer us an insight as to the extent of the turnover of the leadership of the trust?

Mr. Bell

I am grateful for three questions rather than one and for your indulgence, Mr. Speaker, at this time of the Parliament. I shall be happy to write to the hon. Gentleman, giving answers on all three points. He might, however, be pleased to know that, since 1989, the Government have provided 70 per cent. of the trust's budget and the Church has provided 30 per cent. For the period 2002–03, the commissioners will provide up to £3.8 million, partly from sales proceeds from redundant churches and partly by grants from their own funds.

Back to