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National Churches Trust
Church open pic one.jpg
National Churches Trust
World News

Half of UK adults say churches need government funding to help keep them open

by Donna Birrell

A new poll for the National Churches Trust shows that despite a decline in the number of Christians in the UK, the public overwhelmingly supports the nation’s 39,000 churches, chapels and meeting houses.

75 per cent of the more than 2000 UK adults who were surveyed said they agreed that churches, chapels and meeting houses are important for society as they provide a space for activities and support for local people, such as foodbanks and warm spaces.

The Church of England is currently facing a £1 billion repair bill for its buildings over the next five years, with many parishes facing severe challenges in keeping their buildings open and in good repair.

Over 900 churches are on the Heritage at Risk register and 52 per cent of those surveyed agreed that they thought the government should give financial support to churches in order to help keep them open.

Only 22 per cent disagreed with the idea of government funding, with 25 per cent neither agreeing nor disagreeing.

UK adults are slightly more likely to agree that repairs to churches, chapels and meeting houses should be supported with money from local taxes (45 per cent) than with money from national taxes (40 per cent).

A large majority of UK adults (73 per cent) also agreed that the UK’s churches, chapels and meeting houses are an important part of the UK’s heritage and history.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:

“With an increasing number of churches under threat of closure, the findings of our Savanta opinion poll show that church buildings have the overwhelming backing of the UK public. 

“They recognise that churches provide important benefits to society and are also a key part of our history and heritage. The public also agree that Government should give financial support to help pay for building repairs to help keep churches open.

“The high cost of keeping churches open and in good repair, many of which are historic buildings, can often be an important factor leading to their closure.

"Unlike many other countries, the UK’s churches and chapels are the responsibility of local people, not the state or local government, and receive no regular public funding. 

“The UK’s churches are not just Houses of God. They are also Houses of Good - good that we risk losing, and may never be replaced if they do not get the financial support they need to stay open and in good repair.”

2061 UK adults were surveyed online between the 9th and 12th December 2022.

It costs just over £1000 million a year to run the Church of England, financing its 13,000 parishes and 43 cathedrals. It gains its income directly from worshippers in the parishes, the Church Commissioners who manage assets on behalf of the Church and from income on parish and diocesan reserve funds,




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