UK forks out for pope's visit

2010-07-05 18:46
London - The taxpayers' tab for the upcoming papal visit to Britain has risen by at least a third to £10m or more, the official coordinating the government's part in the visit said on Monday.

Chris Patten said the costs could be as much as £12m, not counting policing costs. The earlier estimate was around £7.5m.

Pope Benedict XVI plans to make the first state visit to Britain by a pope starting September 16 in Scotland and ending September 19 in England.

Patten told a press briefing that the police costs are difficult to estimate, as they depend in part on how many people turn out for various events.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the leader of Roman Catholics in England and Wales, said the church has raised about £5m so far toward its share of the costs.

Patten said the public cost of the visit compared favourably with the £19ms spent to mount a one-day meeting of the G-20 in London.

- SAPA
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