Chester MP, Chris Matheson, has again raised the issue of government funding for Chester's historic walls in the House of Commons, following a letter to the Chancellor last autumn.

Mr Matheson had written to Mr Sunak to highlight the need for extra, ring-fenced funding for repair and maintenance work. Currently, the upkeep of the walls is paid by Cheshire West and Chester Council, cutting into its highways budget. Last year the government cut highways funding allocation by 22 percent.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Mr Matheson said: "One of the biggest drivers of tourism in my area is the city walls—the only complete set of city walls in the UK—but the local authority has to spend money from the highways budget on their upkeep.

"Does the Minister agree with me that such major heritage and tourism assets should be funded centrally, because they are national and, indeed, international treasures?"

Responding was Nigel Huddleston, Minister for Sport, Tourism, Heritage and Civil Society.

Mr Huddleston said: "The honourable Gentleman makes an important point. We do invest quite heavily in heritage, particularly with the culture recovery programme, and of course there is ongoing investment in heritage through the national lottery heritage schemes and others.

"Again, this is an area that sometimes involves cross-Government work, so I would be happy to meet the honourable Gentleman to discuss his ideas and proposals."

Mr Matheson's letter to the Chancellor proposed that the government re-profile the walls as a unique and important monument for all of Britain and allocate an additional £600,000 per annum to Cheshire West's funding settlement, to be used exclusively for their upkeep.

The MP has also launched a petition on his website calling for 2000 signature for 2000 years of history, to highlight the weight of local support for this issue.

Mr Matheson said of the campaign: "The Council have done an exceptional job in their upkeep and are committed to continued preservation of the walls. However, with £466 million of funding cut by the central government over the last decade, extra funding is desperately needed.

We’ve been knocked back once by the Treasury last year, but I will keep going and keep pushing for new funding, ring-fenced for the walls. I welcome with the Minister’s latest positive and sensible response and look forward to meeting him soon."

To contribute to the petition, you can visit: