Results 141–160 of 3419 for speaker:Mr Michael Alison

European Summit (Cannes) (28 Jun 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: Recalling the recent VE day celebrations, does my right hon. Friend agree that an even greater victory in Europe, which is even more worth celebrating, has been the friendship and co-operation of erstwhile enemies, as exemplified in the latest Council meeting in Cannes, to which he contributed so singularly by his negotiating skill and his friendly partnership? Will he continue to keep...

Prayers: Pension Funds (15 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners): The Church Commissioners welcome the view of the Select Committee on Social Security that a pension fund into which contributions are payable needs to be established and that that will help to protect the continuing scope of the commissioners to contribute towards the pay of clergy in the poorest parishes. That is...

Prayers: Pension Funds (15 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: On the last point, I am sympathetic towards the hon. Gentleman's idea, but it must be something to which the Church of England would agree as it has the majority interest in the issues being discussed. With regard to the pension side of the matter, I can assure the hon. Gentleman and the House that the assets of the Church Commissioners, which are now in the region of £2.4 billion, are very...

Prayers: Pension Funds (15 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I can assure my hon. Friend that past liabilities are very comfortably covered, as actuarially computed, by the £2.4 billion of assets in hand. My hon. Friend also referred to the future pensions liability. He will be aware that we have announced that there is to be a new contributory scheme to take account of that.

Prayers: Churches (15 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: The commissioners' policy is governed by the Pastoral Measure 1983. When a Church of England church is closed for worship, the Measure lays emphasis on the diocese seeking a suitable use and that is what is most commonly achieved. Each case is decided by the commissioners on its merits, taking into account the advice of their statutory advisers—the Advisory Board for Redundant...

Prayers: Churches (15 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: The hon. Gentleman knows that the climbing centre proposal was a good deal further ahead than the Friends of St John's community centre proposal. However, the climbing centre proposal has not gone ahead and it is still fully open to the Friends of St John's community centre project to be considered fairly alongside it. No final decision has yet been taken, and the hon. Gentleman's own...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I congratulate the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. Field), in his distinguished capacity as Chairman of the Select Committee on Social Security, on having taken the initiative in including the Church Commissioners in his Committee's comprehensive study of pension funds. I congratulate him and our other parliamentary colleagues who have served on the Committee on its examination and for the...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: Certainly.

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: My hon. Friend has to bear in mind the fact that the property portfolio taken in the round includes the agricultural estate. That estate is inherited and we have no control over the assets contained in it. The returns from each farm vary considerably and significantly and are themselves subject very often to rent controls, over which we have no real power or authority. Taking the property...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: With the indulgence of the House, I shall repeat the point that I was making when I initially gave way to my hon. Friend. The commissioners have long acknowledged that they are too heavily weighted towards property in their investment portfolio and that re-balancing needs to take place. I make no bones about that. I do not dispute that, within that over-extended investment, there have been...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: My hon. Friend is slightly misconceiving the nature of the Church Commissioners' assets and investments portfolio, because it cannot properly be described as a pension fund or even he considered analogous to a pension fund. It is not a closed pension fund with regular income flowing into it. It is quite a different kind of investment portfolio for which no new money comes in. In relation to...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: Indeed they do. They do not necessarily always compare the fund with other pension funds, but they compare it with other comparable investment holdings and investment trusts. The assets of the fund are regularly measured, and we in the Assets Committee get regular sight of comparable movements. The fund is not assessed and evaluated in terms of its performance precisely as though it is a...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I am bound to tell the hon. Gentleman that, in advance of the Turnbull report and the recommendations of the Select Committee on Social Security, apart from a fresh breath of stimulating air and ozone that has come through the arrival of Sir Michael Colman and the appointment of the two important new officers, whose names I have just given—after all, "the spirit giveth life", not the body...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: The hon. Gentleman has introduced a non-hero to offset the three heroes whom he presented to us earlier. I am not responsible for that non-hero—alas, I wish that I could be responsible for the three heroes who were presented to us earlier. I am responsible for neither. Mr. Nugee's letter was not stimulated by me and I doubt that it was stimulated by Sir Michael Colman or his staff. Mr....

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: Later I shall suggest a way in which one might proceed roughly along those lines. Thirdly, the Social Security Select Committee argues that there is an urgent task in deciding to whom the commissioners should be responsible and that an Act of Parliament would appear the least contentious way of resolving that. Alas, I am advised that a Bill would be very contentious—at least, in Church of...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: To be honest, we have not worked through the ways in which there might be variations on the existing machinery of the General Synod, through its Legislative Committee, sending across a Measure to our Ecclesiastical Committee, but it might be possible to turn the Ecclesiastical Committee into a type of Standing Committee to consider a Measure before it is crystallised in final Measure form, so...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: It would not come before the House to the Chamber of the House, sitting as a Committee of the whole House. However, it might come to the Ecclesiastical Committee in a form in which that committee was asked what amendments it might want to make if the Measure were to come before it in a full-bodied Bill form and, in that tentative way, return to the Legislative Committee of the General Synod...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I take note what my hon. Friend has said. He has sat on the Ecclesiastical Committee for as long as I have and as frequently as I have, and he knows the extraordinary flexibility that it can deploy when it wants to discuss an issue. We witnessed some of those unusual, original and surprising forms of consideration when we considered the Measure regarding the ordination of women. I am not...

Church of England Pensions (11 May 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I must proceed; my hon. Friend the Member for Colchester, North (Mr. Jenkin) may be able to make his argument in a speech. The hon. Member for Birkenhead referred to subsidiary companies. For the sake of brevity, I shall, with the hon. Gentleman's permission, skip the passage that I was going to offer the House about subsidiary companies, because he has received a rather more definitive...

Prayers: Responsibility to Children (26 Apr 1995)

Mr Michael Alison: I should like to contribute briefly to the debate by drawing attention to a responsibility to children about which I believe that the House and the Government have a significant opportunity to do something immediate, practical and worth while. I refer to the terrible tragedy and scandal of child prostitution, which is prolific and, sadly, growing rapidly in parts of Africa and Asia but which...


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