asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, what financial help is given to the Church of England Children's Society by the Church Commissioners; and if he will make a statement.
None, Sir, because it is the commissioners' duty to use their income for defined statutory purposes; namely, the pay, pensions and housing of the clergy of the Church of England.
Will my hon. Friend join me in congratulating the Church of England Children's Society on looking after more than 7,000 problem children in 1984, on helping them to be fostered and adopted, and generally on helping to improve the circumstances of all those children who have greatly suffered over the years? As the society also provides special homes for the children, will my hon. Friend reconsider his answer, because these children desperately need help?
I wish to make it absolutely clear that whether or not there is a contribution from the Church Commissioners is not in any sense a judgment. The Commissioners are bound by the law as laid down by Parliament, but of course I join my hon. Friend in acknowledging the splendid work done by this charity, and I know how closely he keeps in touch with it in Leicester and elsewhere.