Payments of nearly £2 million towards the cost of the Pope’s state visit to the UK have been made by the Department for International Development (DfID). The British Humanist Association (BHA) has described the payments as illegitimate use of government funds. In October 2010, it was reported that £3.7 million had been paid towards the spiralling costs of the Papal visit from environmental funds, by the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The payment came to light following an investigation into the accounts of DfID, by the International Development Select Committee, which considered the transfer of funds as surprising, and has asked the government for further explanation. A spokesperson for DfID claimed that the £1.85 million contribution ‘Recognised the Catholic Church's role as a major provider of health and education services in developing countries’. The BHA has described this reasoning as ‘irrational and wrong’. Read more.