Papal visit cost UK government £6.3 million, report shows
February 16, 2011
The British government absorbed £6.3 million ($10.1 million) in costs for the visit by Pope Benedict XVI last October, the Foreign Office has reported.
The total cost of the papal visit was over £16 million. The Catholic Church in Great Britain will pay more than £10 million. But the government assumed responsibility for other costs—in addition to police and security expenses.
While opponents of the papal visit have complained about the taxpayer funding, government officials have justified the expenses, citing the historic nature of the papal visit and the economic benefits derived from bringing out huge crowds for public ceremonies. The government estimates that over 500,000 people saw the Pope at one of his public appearances. The largest costs for the government came from providing facilities for the 3,000 reporters—many of them from foreign countries-- who covered the events.