York Minister records £2.3m deficit in 2020

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The Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of Saint Peter in York (York Minster) recorded a £2.3m deficit last year according to the Annual Report and Accounts for 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic and related government ordered shut downs had a “catastrophic impact” on the cathedral’s finances, the report stated, as the number of visitors to York Minster fell to approximately 147,500, from 2019’s count of 706,500. The pandemic closures and related restrictions on travel led to a drop in tourist income from £5m to £1.3m. The cathedral closed completely between mid-March until the end of June, and then from mid-October and November. 

In his Dean’s Letter, the Rt Rev Jonathan Frost said: “The Chapter of York took hard but, I believe, the right decisions – to close its Minster School, to secure the future of York Minster’s internationally renowned choral tradition, through a new partnership with nearby St Peter’s School, and to work with elected staff representatives to deliver a process which saw, with great sadness, the departure of 55 valued colleagues.”

As of December 31, 2020 the cathedral employed 167 full and part-time staff, including clergy, while at year’s end 2019 there were 267 staff. Fifty-five staffers were let go and 150 were placed on government supported furloughs.

The Minster School, which opened in 627 AD had been operating at half capacity with only 95 students, and was closed at the end of the 2020 summer term.

Dr Frost wrote: “Covid has changed the world and changed us all. The community at the Minster came together to weather the storm with courage, with tenacity and with care for one another. We take heart from what was achieved and affirm our commitment to continuing to serve one another and our diocese – as the Minster has done for over 1,000 years.”

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