Skip to main content

Clerical Stipends

Volume 927: debated on Wednesday 2 March 1977

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

asked the hon. Member for Kingswood (Mr. Walker), as representing the Church Commissioners, by how much the Commissioners, in their capacity as Central Stipends Authority, intend to raise the recommended range for the stipends of (a) incumbents, (b) non-beneficed clergy of incumbent status and (c) assistant curates from the conclusion of the present pay policy on 31st July 1977; what is the current proportion of incumbents who have to meet their working expenses out of their stipends; and what proposals the Commissioners have for ensuring a greater number of parishes meet these expenses in full.

From 1st April next the recommended stipend range will be increased by £130, the maximum permissible for the lower paid under the present pay policy. The Commissioners will be unable to decide on any further increase until the details of phase III of the Government's pay policy are known.The Commissioners are most conscious, however, that clergy stipends generally are inadequate, and their eventual recommendations will be made with this very much in mind. The Commissioners have taken every opportunity to make it clear to the Government that they regard as a matter of the utmost priority the need at least to bring up to the recommended minimum the stipends of those 2,000 or so clergy who, as a result of adherence to Government policy in the past, still have to live on stipends below the minimum and it is the Commissioners' particular hope that phase III of Government policy will be drawn with sufficient flexibility to enable this to be done.The latest figures available–1976—show that, on average, incumbents are still paying some 43 per cent. of their working expenses out of their stipends, but this is, perhaps, misleading because an average figure tends to give undue weight to the situation of a small minority of incumbents who, for whatever reason, prefer not to claim reimbursement of these expenses. In the present restrictions the Central Stipends Authority has made a special point of urging on dioceses the need to launch a major attack on this problem, and to encourage the laity in the parishes to accept their responsibilities in accordance with general recommendations contained in their fourth report, a copy of which I am sending to the hon. Member. Evidence that the Authority has been receiving indicates that the diocesan authorities are treating this question as one of great importance.