To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what estimate the Church Commissioners have made of the proportion of the Church Estate which is in rural areas; and if he will make a statement.
The rural portfolio of the Church Commissioner investments makes up just over one third of the value of the investment property owned by the Church Commissioners (36%). All of the land is let on appropriate leases.
These rural investments comprise:
Farmland (spread across England and just into Wales);
Forestry (mainly based in Scotland with smaller parcels of forestry in England);
Mineral workings (including a number of quarries based in England);
Residential and commercial property (which is made up of predominantly of farms or in the location of the farmland holdings in England).
The Church Commissioners manage this rural land portfolio along with their other investments to fund the work of the Church of England, providing long-term and sustainable support for the mission of the Church, particularly in the Dioceses in the most deprived regions of the country. The Commissioners currently contribute 15 pence in every pound towards the cost of the Church of England, its mission and strategic aims.