- Terry Sanderson is  President of the National Secular Society. The opinions expressed are his own.-

When the Government is about to announce a 25 percent cut in public spending, the tens of millions of pounds showered on Pope Benedict’s visit to Britain seem like real papal indulgence.

The government contribution to this religious jamboree is currently £12 million (up from £8 million), but what we haven’t been told is how much the over-the-top security operation wil cost.

We have tried through Freedom of Information requests to get some idea, but so far we’ve been stonewalled.

Now the chief constable of South Yorkshire, who is co-ordinating the four police forces who are looking after the visit, says his best guess is around £1.5 million.