HC Deb 19 November 1984 vol 68 c13
25. Mr. Greenway

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, what is the value of current pay and emoluments of beneficed clergy in the Church of England.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, Representing Church Commissioners (Sir William van Straubenzee)

For the year from 1 April 1984 the Church Commissioners, as Central Stipends Authority, have recommended a national minimum stipend for incumbents of £6,500 per annum. In addition to the stipend, an incumbent is provided with a house, free of rent, rates, repairs and insurance.

Mr. Greenway

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the improvement that those figures represent. Do the clergy work within spiritual and political guidelines and, if so, what are they?

Sir William van Straubenzee

No guidelines of either kind are laid down by those whom I represent this afternoon.

Mr. Ryman

Cannot the hon. Gentleman recommend to the Church Commissioners a realistic increase in the stipend of the clergy because, in addition to their arduous duties, they must now endure the intellectually sterile and sanctimonious utterances of a mediocre nonentity— namely, the chairman of the Tory party?

Sir William van Straubenzee

I remind the hon. Gentleman, who follows these matters carefully, that the average stipend in the current year represents an increase over the previous one of 6.8 per cent. during a period when inflation was 4.5 per cent. Both clergy and laity are greatly stimulated by all the utterances of my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer).