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Church Commissioners

Volume 974: debated on Monday 19 November 1979

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asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, when next he expects to attend a meeting of the Church Commissioners.

Consistent with my duties in this House, I hope to be present at the Commissioners' headquarters twice this week.

What do the Church Commissioners think of the proposal of the Government to deprive children of their legal right to free school transport? Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the children who will suffer most as a result of this mean proposal are those who travel considerable distances to attend denominational schools? This Government are depriving parents of freedom of choice in the education of their children as well as depriving their children of free school transport.

The Church Commissioners have no responsibility in education or in the voluntary controlled and voluntary aided schools. Therefore, the matter has not been discussed. On the more general question, I have noticed that in our efforts to improve the lot of the low-paid clergy the present economic climate has considerably helped the efforts of the Commissioners.

Will the Church Commissioners use their influence to ensure that space is provided temporarily in our parish churches for the storing of the Book of Common Prayer so that, when people tire of the new services, it may be used again?

I find, increasingly, that the duties of a Second Church Estates Commissioner get wider and wider—and I refer not only to his shape. The short answer to my hon. Friend is that, since I am quite certain that he is an active member of his own parochial church council, that is the body on which he should make his influence felt.