In 2020 the amount of parish share received by dioceses was 7% below 2019 levels, and in the year to date it is running at 10% less than in the same period of 2019. Parish income has also been badly affected by the loss of hall letting and other events income.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. I am sure he agrees that churches across the land have done an amazing job throughout the pandemic in terms of pastoral care, community support and delivering services virtually and now physically again. It is important that they have a secure financial future. Can he give the House an assessment of the progress and impact of the electronic giving system being piloted in Cumbria by the diocese of Carlisle?
I thank my hon. Friend for his kind words. St Patrick’s church in Patterdale and Lanercost priory are among the 110 churches in the Carlisle diocese that have been given contactless units, not all of which require connectivity to take donations. Since June this year, £30,000 has been given through these units, which is 30% more than we budgeted for. The average contactless donation is almost three times more than the average cash donation, and the average online donation is 10 times more. Where Cumbria leads, the Church of England should follow.
I note that at Environment, Food and Rural Affairs questions Mr Speaker allowed Ministers to answer questions from Members who were not here. As the question of my hon. Friend the Member for Devizes (Danny Kruger) may be of interest to other colleagues, who may wish to come in on the subject, would you be gracious enough to allow me to answer it briefly, Madam Deputy Speaker?