HC Deb 21 June 1999 vol 333 c758
38. Mr. Ben Chapman (Wirral, South)

What plans the commissioners have to review clergy pay. [86568]

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

The national average stipend for incumbents and clergy of incumbent status as at July 1998 was £15,210. In addition, clergy also receive free housing, with an estimated value of £7,820 per annum and a non-contributory pension, which costs £3,010 per minister per annum. A review of clergy stipends has recently been announced and will report its findings next year.

Mr. Chapman

Can my hon. Friend say whether plans to put the clergy's conditions of service on a more temporal or secular basis could include contracts of employment, tribunal rights and union recognition, which are increasingly available to others in our society?

Mr. Bell

I should draw the House's attention to the fact that the Archbishops Council has taken on the commissioners' powers and responsibilities as the central stipends authority and has recently agreed terms of reference for a review of clergy stipends. Among other things, it will examine the content of the clergy remuneration package, including stipend, housing and non-contributory pension; compare the remuneration of clergy with that of other groups; and conduct a large-scale survey of the financial circumstances of the clergy. I will make a personal representation to ensure that my hon. Friend's points are considered in the study.