HC Deb 30 June 1986 vol 100 cc694-5
23. Mr. Greenway

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, to what purposes the Church Commissioners intend to devote their increased income over the past year; and if he will make a statement.

Sir William van Straubenzee

The commissioners' investment income rose by 11.7 per cent. in 1985 to £93.5 million. That compares with a 6.1 per cent. increase in the retail prices index. Eightytwo per cent. of this income was spent on stipends, pensions and housing for the clergy.

Mr. Greenway

The Church Commissioners are to be congratulated on their prudence. How much of the increase in income has come from investments in South Africa? Can my hon. Friend confirm that all bishops and clergy are paid by investtments which are held partly in South Africa? Will he also confirm that the Church Commissioners and the Archbishop recently said that we cannot take investment decisions as a form of protest While calling for economic sanctions against South Africa? Can my hon. Friend explain this?

Sir William van Straubenzee

I would want to make it extremely clear that the commissioners do not invest and never have invested in South Africa. They have investments in several companies and they have made a careful statement about this matter in the annual report, which we have just discussed. On the best calculation, rather less than 0.5 per cent. of their income is so derived. I hope that my hon. Friend will forgive my not going further into the matter, but the Church will be having a debate on this matter today week.