HC Deb 15 March 1993 vol 221 cc14-5
33. Mr. John Marshall

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, what is the estimated financial effect on the Church Commissioners of the introduction of women priests.

Mr. Alison

Any direct additional stipends' costs will be met by dioceses rather than the Commissioners. However, the cost of financial provision for those who leave on conscience grounds will be a statutory charge upon the Commissioners' general fund and will reduce the amount available for other purposes. The gross cost per 100 men is estimated to total £4.6 million of income spread over a period of up to 20 years.

Mr. Marshall

Does my right hon. Friend accept that while we are pleased to serve under the first woman Speaker, we are looking forward to women priests and the first woman bishop in the Church of England and many of us would regard the sum to which my hon. Friend referred as a price worth paying to get women as fully fledged priests and bishops?

Mr. Alison

I voted in the General Synod for the ordination of women measure and I shall be responsible for piloting the measure through the House. I echo the views expressed by my hon. Friend. I hope that he will be prepared to stay up late and, if necessary, vote on the issue when the measure is debated on the Floor of the House.