HC Deb 24 March 1986 vol 94 cc604-5
24. Mr. Dubs

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, how many of those for whose pay the Church Commissioners are responsible are women; and if he will break down these figures by category of employment.

Sir William van Straubenzee

There are 137 women on the commissioners' staff. The commissioners also contribute to the pay of 536 full and part-time deaconesses and female lay-workers and 100 women employed on the staffs of the archbishops and diocesan bishops. I have arranged to publish the full details in the Official Report.

Mr. Dubs

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that many women wish to take holy orders, but are debarred from doing so, and look with gratitude to the General Synod's recent decision that women should be allowed to become deacons? Will the hon. Gentleman do all that he can to expedite that matter?

Sir William van Straubenzee

If I am entrusted with this issue, I shall do all that I can to place any necessary legislation before the House. The first measure will involve women as deacons, which is theologically quite distinct from women as priests. However, I have a feeling that the second measure will not fall to me during this Parliament.

Mr. Frank Field

As most of the money raised in parishes is raised by women, what weight should the House give to the view that there should be no taxation without representation when it comes to consider the measure concerning women deacons?

Sir William van Straubenzee

In accordance with tradition, I am sure that hon. Members will want to listen to representations from every side when that measure comes before the House. I am convinced of the arguments, but it is for the House to decide.

Following are the details:

28 February 1986
Women on the Church Commissioners' Staff
Administrative 71
Professional 5
Technical 61
Women in the Parochial and Diocesan Ministry (Towards whose pay the Commissioners contribute)
Deaconesses (Full-time) 310
Deaconesses (Part-time) 55
Lay-workers (Full-time) 139
Lay-workers (Part-time) 32
Women on the Staff of the Archbishops and Diocesan Bishops (Towards whose pay the Commissioners contribute)
Secretaries 94
Others 6
* 39 per cent. of the total.