The commissioners are currently employing 19 drivers, at a total cost of £352,719, which helps to ensure the best use of bishops’ time.
I understand that the average wage of a chauffeur for Church of England bishops is about £23,000 a year. The Welfare Reform Bill has just become an Act, but does the commissioner believe that the bishops who voted against it—who voted to ensure that people who are not working should earn more than £26,000—should now feel a moral imperative to pay their chauffeurs accordingly?
My hon. Friend makes his own point in his own way. Bishops were not arguing for the abolition of the cap; they were arguing for child benefit to be exempted because they believed that the cap was not flexible enough to be fair to those with large families or those in areas with high housing rental costs. May I say to my hon. Friend, who is an independent-minded Member of Parliament, that there are just 26 Lords Spiritual in a Chamber of nearly 800 Members and I suspect that all independent-minded Members of this House, wherever we sit, would think that from time to time it is no bad thing for the Lords Spiritual to rattle a few cages?