Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th November 1994.

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Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North 12:00 am, 28th November 1994

To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners how much per capita giving by church members is taken into account when the estimates of the Church Commissioners are made; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

The Church Commissioners' forward estimates relate only to their own investment income, but their stipend allocations to dioceses take account of the special needs of poorer dioceses, including potential income from church members in those dioceses. Giving is the largest and most important source of funding. In 1992, giving through parishes amounted to about £274 million. Covenanted giving amounted to about £4.10 per subscriber per week.

Photo of Mr Harry Greenway Mr Harry Greenway , Ealing North

Has my right hon. Friend seen statistics in the newspapers indicating that church membership is now at its lowest level ever? Will he comment on that? Does he agree that church membership and giving depend crucially on the leadership given by the Church and its priests? Does he share my concern that a Swaffham vicar is not following the Church's teaching in the way he is behaving and will my right hon. Friend support the actions of the Bishop of Norwich?

Photo of Mr Michael Alison Mr Michael Alison , Selby

My hon. Friend referred to an individual case in a certain parish with which the Bishop of Norwich is dealing and it would be quite outside the scope of my responsibilities to comment on that. The donation figure that I cited of £4.10 per subscriber per week to the covenanted giving system of the Church of England is a sum which could probably, without great difficulty or pressure, be greatly increased. Appropriate and convincing leadership of integrity in the parishes will undoubtedly be able to exploit the scope for giving which exists.