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Parsonages And Bishops' Palaces

Volume 84: debated on Monday 21 October 1985

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asked the hon. Member for Wokingham, as representing the Church Commissioners, how much was spent on the dilapidations of (a) parsonages and (b) bishops' palaces during the past year; and if he will make a statement.

The Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing Church Commissioners
(Sir William van Straubenzee)

The 1984 figures for parsonages are £7·7 million and for diocesan bishops' houses £338,000.

Will my hon. Friend assure me that the considerable sums spent on parsonages and bishops' palaces, which in 1984 included £70,000 on the palace of the Bishop of Durham, will ensure that there are adequate study facilities for all parsons and bishops, to enable more of them to comment on moral rather than political issues, including the narrow decision last week by the Law Lords to abolish the age of consent?

All parsonages and bishops' houses have provision for studies. I do not think that it would be in accordance with the general attitude of the clergy if the Church of England tried to ordain or lay down the thinking that should take place in their studies. Total expenditure on Auckland castle is much greater than my hon. Friend has indicated, because of the historic nature of that ancient place.