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Church Commissioners

Volume 702: debated on Thursday 28 October 2021

The hon. Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, was asked—


The Archbishop of Canterbury will be attending COP26 with Anglican Communion colleagues. Last month, he joined Pope Francis and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to pray that world leaders, individuals and businesses will take the right

The Church has tremendous influence both here and across the world. How is the Church of England encouraging its members to support successful outcomes from COP26?

Churches are signing up to be eco-churches in increasing numbers, and 38 of our 42 dioceses have signed up to be eco-dioceses. In addition, the Church of England started the transition pathway initiative, whose membership now comprises funds of $40 trillion. The transition pathway initiative has partnered with the Grantham research institute at the London School of Economics to track 10,000 companies to make sure they are on a timely path to net zero.

Level of Financial Donations to the Church: Covid-19

10. What assessment the Commissioners have made of the impact of the covid-19 outbreak on trends in the level of financial donations to the Church. (903907)

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.

It is noticeable that several Members on the Order Paper are not present in the Chamber. We have therefore answered—

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?

Church of England Payroll Budget Allocations

6. How much and what proportion of the Church of England’s payroll budget is allocated to (a) ordained ministers in parishes, (b) staff in Diocesan offices and (c) National Church Institutions. (903902)

Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. This is an important question, and I am grateful to get the answer on the record.

The Church of England is not a single institution, so it does not have a single payroll budget. In 2019, £255 million was spent on stipends and pension contributions for ordained ministers in parishes and a further £124 million was spent on clergy housing and working costs, £65 million was spent on staff in dioceses and £30 million was spent on staff in the National Church Institutions.

I have now allowed the hon. Gentleman to answer an unanswered question and to give two answers to the hon. Member for Lichfield (Michael Fabricant). This is extraordinary and it will not happen again. I do not want to set a precedent, but I am grateful to the Second Church Estates Commissioner for all his thorough answers, and I am grateful to the hon. Member for Lancaster and Fleetwood (Cat Smith), too.