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Poverty

Church Commissioners written question – answered on 3rd December 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 levels of poverty among clergy with particular reference to those clergy who are (a) retired and (b) about to retire.

Photo of Stuart Bell Stuart Bell Second Church Estates Commissioner

Clergy in office are provided with a house and paid a stipend. On retirement, a full service pension from the Church for 37 years' service amounts to two thirds of the National Minimum Stipend and a lump sum of three times the pension. Clergy are responsible for their own housing in retirement but are given assistance through a retirement housing scheme. Clergy also receive a state pension.

The Clergy Stipends Review Group has recently published a report "Generosity and Sacrifice", which looked at the issue of stipends and pensions. The Group noted that if stipends levels are no better than adequate, the current quantum of pension is not over generous in relation to stipends or in absolute terms. It felt, however, that a number of details of the provision of the pension and stipend scheme were in need of reconsideration. The General Synod at its November sessions agreed that the report should be sent to dioceses for consultation. The responses to that consultation are likely to be considered by General Synod at the end of next year.

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