HC Deb 25 June 1975 vol 894 cc143-4W
43. Mr. Dalyell

asked the hon. Member for Kingswood, representing the Church Commissioners, what action the Church Estates Commission is taking to help provide resources for the upkeep of medieval churches.

Mr. Terry Walker

The Church Commissioners have no general power to help with the upkeep of churches in use, whether or not they are medieval, and if they were to be given such a power its use would reduce funds sorely needed for clergy stipends and pensions. The Commissioners do, however, under the authority of the Pastoral Measure 1968, make grants to the Redundant Churches Fund to assist that fund with the care and maintenance of redundant churches of architectural and historic interest which have been vested in the fund under that measure.

As the House will be aware, the need for assistance to be provided from public funds for the maintenance of historic churches in use of all denominations has been acknowledged by the Government and I would refer my hon. Friend to the statement made by the Secretary of State for the Environment on 16th June 1975 in answer to a Question from the hon. Member for Gravesend (Mr. Ovenden). The discussions now taking place between the Department of the Environment and representatives of the Churches do not come within the Commissioners' responsibilities. They are being conducted on the Church side by representatives of the General Synod of the Church of England and the Churches Main Committee on behalf of the other Churches.