HC Deb 01 February 1993 vol 218 cc13-4
25. Mr. John Marshall

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement about the investment policy of the Church Commissioners.

Mr. Alison

The commissioners' investment policy is to seek to achieve the best total return on their assets—that is, growth of both income and capital. This reflects their primary objective, which is to provide adequate financial support for the Church's serving and retired clergy.

Mr. Marshall

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the failure of some of the recent investments in property suggest that God works in a mysterious way his miracles to perform? Does he also agree that these failures will lead to the Church having to raise more money in the parishes, which is probably in the long-term interests of the Church of England?

Mr. Alison

My hon. Friend will note that the losses suffered by the Church of England in its investment in property have been matched by the losses suffered by most of the secular world at home at the same time. There is nothing exceptional, therefore, about that. My hon. Friend will recall that the diversity of our investments meant that when the stock exchange crash occurred in 1987 we were scarcely affected by it. My hon. Friend, however, is absolutely right. There is enormously more scope for contributions by the man and women in the parish. I look forward very much to that contribution increasing in 1993.

Mr. Enright

In view of the right hon. Gentleman's views reported at the weekend that there should be no investment in the 10 pits, will he urge the Church Commissioners to love their neighbour rather than to pursue his "beggar my neighbour" and "am I my brother's keeper?"-type policies?

Mr. Alison

The hon. Gentleman refers to a press quotation which does not ring a bell as being correct, but I must stay in order, Madam Speaker: the Church Commissioners have no direct investment in coal property or coal mines.

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