HC Deb 07 December 1998 vol 322 c16
32. Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

If he will make a statement about the proportion and amount of the Church Commissioners' contribution to clergy and widows' pensions and stipends in the current financial year. [61373]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

In 1998, on current assumptions, the Church Commissioners will meet total expenditure on behalf of the Church of £160.6 million, of which £134.3 million—83.6 per cent.—will go on clergy stipends, pensions and related expenditure. This includes transitional support payments to dioceses to assist them in meeting the full costs of pension contributions for parochial clergy.

Sir Sydney Chapman

I am grateful for that reply. Does it not underline the vital importance of the Church Commissioners maximising their assets, albeit within ethical constraints, to meet such a great proportion of clergy's and widows' pensions and stipends? Does it not also put into perspective the recent request that the parishes themselves try to produce more funding, given the significantly increasing costs of running the ministry?

Mr. Bell

Our current level of parochial ministry support of £20 million has been agreed following a long process of consultation with dioceses. We have to balance our support for today's Church with the need to provide long-term sustainable support for future generations. The commissioners are very grateful to the parishes for their generous response in raising giving levels to meet an increasing proportion of ministry costs. We are confident that the parishes will continue to rise to the challenge.