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Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

I am very pleased to be able to tell my hon. Friend that there are 1,100 clergy in training in 2022-23, and that £10.3 million has been given to 25 dioceses to fund more curacy posts and £4.3 million has been given to 19 dioceses to make sure that clergy leaving training have a post of first responsibility to go to.

In Old Bexley and Sidcup, we are fortunate to have many fantastic churches and faith leaders supporting our community. Will my hon. Friend join me in thanking them all and congratulating St Mary the Virgin church and parish in Bexley village, which celebrates an incredible 900th anniversary this year?

I am delighted that St Mary the Virgin in Bexley will be celebrating its 900th anniversary with the Bishop of Rochester in November. I know that it is a church dedicated to serving its local community, with particularly impressive youth work, and I would like to commend the Rev. Renate Tulloh and the Bexley team ministry for all the good work that they do, which is noticed and greatly appreciated.