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To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, pursuant to his answer of 16 July 2001, Official Report, column 17, on Church Buildings (Maintenance), how much has been invested in the maintenance of church buildings in each of the last five years; and what has been the percentage increase in real terms.
The repair and maintenance of the Church of England's 16,250 churches are the responsibility of individual parochial church councils.
A survey conducted for the Council for the Care of Churches estimated a total repair cost in 1998 of £123 million for such buildings. A study commissioned by the Churches Main Committee, based on a survey of a sample group of churches of all denominations in 1999, broadly supported a similar figure.
Comparable figures for earlier years cannot readily be given as the basis on which that information is collected has changed during the five-year period.