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Clergy (Housing)

Volume 124: debated on Monday 7 December 1987

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To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, as representing the Church Commissioners, what information he has as to how many beneficed clergy or priests in charge of parishes are currently housed (a) completely outside their parishes, (b) more than one mile from their churches and (c) in accommodation next door to a church in their charge; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Michael Alison
(Second Church Estates Commissioners, representing the Church Commissioners)

The commissioners do not have the statistics, but their belief is that few incumbents live outside their parishes, and then only with the bishop's permission.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is sad, wrong and damaging to their pastoral performance that some clergy now live outside the parishes for which they are responsible? Are not the Church Commissioners equally distanced from the feelings of many ordinary church people who do not wish to see in Crockford's, for which the Church Commissioner's are responsible—

I should tell my hon. Friend that there are about 9,000 parishes with parochial houses. I believe that all but a handful of parochial houses are located in extremely close proximity to the parish church in question. My hon. Friend also asked about the reference to the Archbishop of Canterbury in Crockford's, and if it is in order for me to respond—