HC Deb 11 July 1994 vol 246 c664
34. Mr. Enright

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, what capital funds have been set aside to assist in church regeneration programmes in small pit villages.

Mr. Alison

The commissioners' primary duty is to manage their assets for the benefit of the clergy, both serving and retired. There are therefore no funds set aside specifically for the purpose to which the question refers, although our financial support for the clergy is concentrated on the needier dioceses—for example, Wakefield, which covers the hon. Gentleman's constituency—where such villages are often situated.

Mr. Enright

Does not the right hon. Gentleman find it odd that a small congregation in Kinsley, which has inherited a down-at-heel, broken-down church and is trying to put it to rights, is having immense difficulty in getting funds from the Church while it sees funds easily going to those who have opposed the ordination of women? Is not there some imbalance there?

Mr. Alison

It is always possible to find one head of expenditure which sits uneasily with other heads of disbursement or with other heads of cost. Looking at the picture in the round, it is true to say that as much money as possible is allocated to poorer dioceses, such as the diocese of Wakefield, to help churches such as the one to which the hon. Gentleman has referred. I give him a personal undertaking, especially in the light of our brief exchange in the Tea Room earlier, that I shall approach the Bishop of Wakefield, if the hon. Gentleman will give me details of the church with which he is particularly concerned, to see whether we can help in the obviously strained situation in the village which the hon. Gentleman has described.