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Public costs for papal entourage, UK 2010

The month before the 2010 papal visit to Britain a bit of information leaked out on the costs to the taxpayer for two days' accomodation of the papal entourage. Nothing is known of the costs involved for the other half of the trip. Here are articles from The Tablet and the Daily Mail.


The Tablet, 7 August 2010

The entourage accompanying Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to Britain next month is to stay at a luxury hotel in central London, writes Christopher Lamb.

The group, known as the seguido, numbers roughly 30 and includes cardinals, priests and bodyguards. They will all stay at the hotel, where rooms range between £220 and £920 per night.

A government spokesman confirmed that the state would pay for up to 11 members of the group and had secured special rates. It would also provide a daily allowance for the 11 of £150.

The rest of the bill will be met by the Church in England and Wales.

The entire hotel, which The Tablet is not naming for security reasons, has been block-booked for 17 and 18 September. The Pope himself will be staying in the papal nuncio’s residence in Wimbledon.

The group includes Cardinals Walter Kasper, Peter Turkson and Jean-Louis Tauran. A chapel is to be set up in a private dining room to allow Masses to be said.


Taxpayers to foot luxury hotel bill for Pope's entourage

Daily Mail, 15 August 2010

Senior Vatican officials who will accompany the Pope on his historic visit to Britain will stay in a luxury hotel where rooms cost up to £900 a night – courtesy of UK taxpayers.

The Government has confirmed it will meet the accommodation bill for 11 members of Pope Benedict XVI’s entourage during the visit from September 16-19.

The Government has also decided to give all 11 a daily spending allowance of £150 for the trip.

The money has been set aside for expenses such as food, dry cleaning, UK telephone calls and drinks – as long as they are not from the hotel mini-bar.

The disclosure will exacerbate concerns about the rising cost of the four-day visit, which is already costing UK taxpayers £12million – 50 per cent more than originally intended.

Some critics have questioned why the Government has to pay so much when the Roman Catholic Church has a reported fortune of around £30billion.

The hotel is close to Westminster and boasts a swimming pool and 24-hour room service.

It will cater for the spiritual needs of the party by allowing a chapel to be set up in its private dining room.

The Pope himself will stay in the Papal Nuncio’s residence at Wimbledon,
South-West London. [...]


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