There are at present 8,800 official parsonage houses, of which 7,200—82 per cent.—are regarded as providing suitable accommodation. Whilst the commissioners make substantial grants to dioceses to assist with the cost of repairs, maintenance is a diocesan responsibility.
I thank my hon. Friend for his reply. Is it not a fact that too many incumbents are still required to live in unmanageably large houses and that some dioceses could be more punctilious in the maintenance of these houses? Is it not also a fact that some parishes still treat their vicar's parsonages as though they were meeting places rather than the home of the incumbent?
Substantial progress has been made in the matter raised by my hon. Friend. For example, during the past five years some 1,076 parsonage houses have been replaced, by building or by purchase, at a cost to the Church Commissioners of £9·2 million in grants. If my hon. Friend has a specific case in mind in which a diocese has not performed as he thinks it should with regard to maintenance, if he will give me if e details I shall gladly pass them on.