HC Deb 11 December 1995 vol 268 c694
34. Mr. Harry Greenway

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, how many priests have been taken off the payroll of the Church Commissioners as a result of being unfrocked; out of what total in each of the past five years; and if he will make a statement. [3320]

Mr. Michael Alison (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

The Commissioners do not hold this information. Clergy are added to or taken off the central payroll in response to instructions from dioceses. A clergyman may leave the payroll for a variety of reasons, such as taking a job outside the parochial ministry or overseas, and the Commissioners are not generally informed of the circumstances.

Mr. Greenway

Do not clergy sometimes resign for sad reasons? May I pay a warm tribute to the vast majority of clergy for their wonderful and dedicated service and work? Should there not be effective safeguards against serious and devastating abuses such as those that occurred recently at the Sheffield nine o'clock service?

Mr. Alison

These matters lie a little outside the immediate scope of my responsibilities, but I can tell my hon. Friend that a carefully maintained check-list is kept at Lambeth palace of clergy, against whose names an asterisk is placed due to some uncertainty about their performance. Those on the list are informed and may make representations if they consider that their name should be removed from the list. The list enables the sort of monitoring to take place which I know that my hon. Friend would wish.

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