Taxpayer 'should not fund Pope's visit'

MORE than three quarters of Britons think the taxpayer should not contribute to the cost of Pope Benedict XVI's forthcoming visit to Scotland and England, according to a survey published today.

An online poll of 2,005 adults has shown 77 per cent do not agree that the taxpayer should help shoulder the bill for the four-day trip, even though it is a state visit.

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A similar proportion – 76 per cent – rejected taxpayer funding for the visit on the grounds that he is a religious figure.

The findings were issued by Theos, the public theology think tank, as the Pope is due to arrive in Edinburgh on September 16, the first Papal visit to Britain since Pope John Paul II's 1982 trip.

The survey, conducted in August, shows widespread apathy in Britain towards 83-year-old Pope Benedict's arrival with 79 per cent saying they have "no personal interest" in his visit.