Terms of Employment (Clergy)

Oral Answers to Questions — Church Commissioners – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 6th December 2004.

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Photo of Ben Chapman Ben Chapman PPS (Rt Hon Richard Caborn, Minister of State), Department for Culture, Media & Sport 2:30 pm, 6th December 2004

What recent assessment the commissioners have made of the work of the Department of Trade and Industry working group looking at terms of employment for members of the clergy.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

No concrete proposals have emerged from the DTI working group's meetings to date.

Photo of Ben Chapman Ben Chapman PPS (Rt Hon Richard Caborn, Minister of State), Department for Culture, Media & Sport

Does my hon. Friend think that satisfactory? I recognise that the wheels turn exceedingly slowly in respect of Church matters, but can he indicate whether any progress has been made, what direction the working group is taking, and when we might expect some form of announcement?

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

The thrust of my hon. Friend's question is a matter for the DTI, since it is up to its working group to introduce concrete proposals. The working group's discussions concerning the service review have been reported back to the clergy, and a report on the second phase of its work will be submitted to the Archbishops Council later this month.

"The mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, with exactness He grinds all."

I would submit that, at the end of the day, we may reach the conclusion that my hon. Friend wishes.