Beneficed Clergy

Oral Answers to Questions — The Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th November 1984.

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Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North 12:00 am, 19th November 1984

asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, what is the value of current pay and emoluments of beneficed clergy in the Church of England.

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

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.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

I congratulate my hon. Friend on the improvement that those figures represent. Do the clergy work within spiritual and political guidelines and, if so, what are they?

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

No guidelines of either kind are laid down by those whom I represent this afternoon.

Photo of Mr John Ryman Mr John Ryman , Blyth Valley

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?

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

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).