For the year from 1 April 1984 the Church Commissioners, as Central Stipends Authority, have recommended a national minimum stipend for incumbents of £6,500 per annum. In addition to the stipend, an incumbent is provided with a house, free of rent, rates, repairs and insurance.
Cannot the hon. Gentleman recommend to the Church Commissioners a realistic increase in the stipend of the clergy because, in addition to their arduous duties, they must now endure the intellectually sterile and sanctimonious utterances of a mediocre nonentity— namely, the chairman of the Tory party?
I remind the hon. Gentleman, who follows these matters carefully, that the average stipend in the current year represents an increase over the previous one of 6·8 per cent. during a period when inflation was 4·5 per cent. Both clergy and laity are greatly stimulated by all the utterances of my hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal (Mr. Gummer).