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Church of England Estate

Volume 450: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

26. How much was received in 2005-06 by the Church of England from the sale of land and property for residential and other development purposes; and how much of this was spent on new buildings and modernising buildings for church and associated purposes. (92607)

A wide range of Church of England bodies, including the commissioners, own land and property and it is not possible to give a single figure covering receipts for the whole Church. However, the Church Commissioners’ total property sales in 2005 were worth £242 million.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree, as a point of principle, that, if land in a parish is sold for housing while in the same parish the church is raising a public appeal to modernise its church hall, the least that could be done would be to pay for those improvements from the proceeds of the sale of any land that had been owned by the parish?

The two sets of circumstances to which the hon. Gentleman refers are not mutually exclusive. In relation to property sales and to the Church’s expenditure in 2005, the commissioners spent about £100 million on pensions, £31.5 million on parish mission and ministry support, £21 million on bishops and £6.6 million on cathedrals. The parish land to which the hon. Gentleman refers might not be within the domain of the Church Commissioners.