Cost of pope's visit to U.K. upsets some

Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI meet school children outside the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the Queen's official residence in Scotland, in Edinburgh, United Kingdom.

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BILL RADKE: Thousands of people will line the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland, today as Pope Benedict XVI meets Queen Elizabeth. The bill for the pope's visit will be paid by the British government and that has many Brits upset
as the BBC's Rebecca Singer reports from London.


REBECCA SINGER: He's only the second pope to visit the U.K. in the last 500 years. But even before Benedict XVI touched down at Edinburgh airport, his visit's been marred by controversy. The cost for this visit -- $19 million for the British government -- and the Catholic Church will be putting in another $15 million. But there's been a lot of criticism of these costs at a time when the country is recovering from recession and facing big cuts to public spending.

Juliet Wilson is from the Humanist Society of Scotland. She says taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill.

JULIET WILSON: The Vatican, with their enormous wealth, should pay for that. Politicians need to understand that the teachings of the pope are completely against the way that most Scottish people, and even most Catholics, think and live their lives.

But there have been some concessions. For the first time people attending a beatification service on Sunday will have to pay $40 for tickets and transport.

The government has defended the cost saying the pope has been invited as a head of state. It notes that last year it cost more to host a one-day meeting of G-20 finance ministers.

In London, I'm the BBC's Rebecca Singer for Marketplace.

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