Staff Statistics

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 31st October 1983.

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Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North 12:00 am, 31st October 1983

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, how many persons were employed by the Church Commissioners in 1953, 1963, 1973 and 1983; and what was the overall cost of their remuneration and office facilities.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

As the answer contains a number of figures, I will, with permission, circulate it in the Official Report.

However, I can tell my hon. Friend that in 1953 there were 390 employees at an administrative cost of £325,000 and today that figure is reduced to 372. Administrative costs for 1983 are not available but for 1982 they were £5·87 million.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

Bearing in mind that the virtually unreduced staff of the Church Commissioners has so far failed to answer two questions that I tabled in July, will my hon. Friend ask the Commissioners to pursue a policy of rigorous self-economy so that they can make more substantial contributions to diocesan funds than hitherto and so that the parish quota—in a parish that I know it has been increased by 282 per cent. in three years—can be reduced somewhat?

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

I am much obliged to my hon. Friend for giving me brief notice of the first part of his supplementary question, which I shall follow up with vigour. I wish my hon. Friend and the House to know that the Commissioners take their duties to the House seriously. I shall let him know at the earliest opportunity, possibly over the lunch table tomorrow. Secondly, the broad strategy that has to be followed stems from the reduction in the number of active clergy, but there is a greatly increased number of clergy pensioners and widows. Those are the two prongs on which the work of the Commissioners has to rest.

Photo of Mr Clement Freud Mr Clement Freud , North East Cambridgeshire

However many people are employed by the Church Commissioners, I wonder whether the hon. Gentleman will try to seize them of the importance of making it a little easier for my constituent to erect a white marble tombstone in Mepal churchyard, where there are already 10 such white marble tombstones. However, no permission to erect that tombstone seems to have been given yet.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

I shall gladly look into any case that the hon. Gentleman wishes to raise with me. I hope that he is not planning for himself.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I hope that my hon. Friend will not feel that I am rejecting his convivial reply to my first question, which will be discussed over lunch tomorrow, but I may ask you, Mr. Speaker, who, with your predecessor, have occasionally ruled me out of order on questions to the hon. Member answering for the Church Commissioners, how you have information on which to base your rulings, which the Church Commissioners appear not to have?

Photo of Mr Bernard Weatherill Mr Bernard Weatherill , Croydon North East

I shall have to rule the hon. Gentleman out of order again.

Photo of Mr William Van Straubenzee Mr William Van Straubenzee , Wokingham

Following are the figures:

The number of employees and the total administrative expenses of the Commissioners as at 31 December for the dates mentioned were as follows:

EmployeesAdministrative Costs
£000s
1953390325
1963476674
19734461600

As at 31 October 1983 the number of employees was 372. Figures for 1983 administrative costs are not yet available but for the year to 31 December 1982 they were £5·87 million.

It is possible to compare the Commissioners' administrative costs—of which salaries form the major part—with the rate of inflation only since 1963, when Department of Environment figures on earnings were first published. Since 1963 earnings have shown a national increase of 879 per cent. as against an increase of 771 per cent. in the Commissioners' administrative expenses.