September 9, 2010

… but only 21% have any “personal interest”.

According to a recent poll, 79% of the UK population are adjudged not to have a “personal interest” in Pope Benedict XVI’s visit next week but 100% of the UK taxpayers will be making a ‘contribution’ towards the associated security costs. From this poll there are a generous 2% who are prepared to contribute in spite of no interest with 77% believing they should not be helping pay for the visit.

A quick check of statistics (though slightly outdated from 2000/01) shows that of a UK population of 57.1 million, only 4.1m of the 41m Christians were Catholic. By our reckoning that’s about 7.2% of the population… so who are the other 13.8% with a personal interest? The media?

It’s a bit difficult for taxpayers to really complain about this specific visit by the head of the Catholic Church as they foot the bill for many other political and religious figures. Though with government cuts affecting jobs and services across the UK and clampdowns on benefits and fraud, it would seem an inappropriate time to be ‘wasting’ £8m-£12m on a visit that affects about a fifth of the country.

In fairness, it’s not as if the Pope pops in regularly to the UK so, in the scale of things, this visit isn’t too costly considering there hasn’t been a papal visit for 28 years… even at £12m that’s only just over £428,000 a year or approx 10.5p per Catholic per year… time to pass round the collection tray and start saving for the next visit! However, the statistics we found suggested that a little over a million Catholics go to church on Sundays (about 1.75% of the population!) so they might have to cover costs and donate 42p per year.

Last updated: September 9, 2010 at 10:30 am