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Retired Clergy

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 21st November 2001.

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Photo of David Drew David Drew Labour/Co-operative, Stroud

To ask the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, if he will make a statement on housing provision for clergy on their retirement.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

Clergy in office are provided with a house and are paid a stipend. In retirement, however, they must meet their own housing costs. The derivation of the formula for the pension and retirement lump sum takes this into account.

Actual arrangement of retirement housing is a matter for the individual, who may purchase a property (if necessary with the aid of a mortgage obtained in the market) or rent. The Church offers, through the Pensions Board and supported by investment capital provided by the Church Commissioners, a scheme of housing assistance which widens the choice available. Subject to the circumstances of the individual, a value-linked mortgage loan may be granted to enable accommodation to be purchased, or a property owned by the Board can be occupied in return for payment of maintenance contributions.

The Archbishops' Council has recently conducted a review of clergy stipends and the General Synod has agreed that the report should be sent to dioceses for consultation. A copy of the review group's report "Generosity and Sacrifice" (GS 1408) is available in the House of Commons Library. It includes the recommendation that the Pensions Board, the Church Commissioners, dioceses and clergy charities consider the possibility of finding sufficient capital for loans to clergy to enable them to make provision for retirement housing in advance of retirement by lending them the money for a deposit on a house, the mortgage for which could be funded by renting out the property. The Commissioners will give consideration to this in due course.

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