HC Deb 12 June 2000 vol 351 cc637-8
34. Mr. Desmond Swayne (New Forest, West)

If he will make a statement on recent trends in the number of vocations. [123704]

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

The trends in the number of vocations over the last four years have been rising in all categories—that is, among stipendiary ministry and also non-stipendiary and ordained local ministry. There are approximately 25 per cent. more ordinands in training than there were four years ago.

Mr. Swayne

Is the hon. Gentleman confident that the Church Commissioners will be able to meet the expenses that that increase anticipates, particularly in respect of the long-term future regarding pensions?

Mr. Bell

The hon. Gentleman is right to draw attention to the burden on the commissioners of meeting pension commitments entered into and to the need to provide a proper stipend and proper conditions for those within the Church. We are on target for that, but we are in the hands of actuaries, who often investigate these matters and give us their views.

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