Church of England Clergy Owed Pay Rise

Article excerpt

The Church of England faced mounting pressure on its finances yesterday as a key report recommended pay rises of up to 20 per cent for the clergy.

Incumbent clergy, such as vicars, rectors and priests-in-charge should be paid about pounds 20,000 a year - an 18 per cent pay rise - according to the clergy stipends review group.

Its report recommends that assistant staff such as curates and licensed lay workers should receive pay rises of 20 per cent, to take their remuneration to a national minimum of pounds 18,200.

Pay for bishops and other members at the higher levels of the Church of England would rise accordingly.

The pay for the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr George Carey would go up to pounds 68,250.

Under the proposals, limited local flexibility would be allowed to give dioceses the chance to pay more money for clergy such as rural deans or clergy responsible for training curates.

The package would cost the Church of England around pounds 29.1 million a year - approximately pounds 30 a year per churchgoer - on top of a current total pay bill of pounds 175 million.

The authors of the report say they reached their conclusions by linking clergy pay to about 80 per cent of the starting salary for a head teacher of a primary school, with a deduction for housing.

The report further recommends that a scheme should be set up to lend clergy deposits on property to enable them to enter the housing market.

Currently 62% of Church of England clergy do not own their own home.

The Rev Dr Richard Turnbull, chairman of the review group, said: 'The review group believe that clergy are underpaid both in principle and in practice, and in some cases significant hardship has resulted.'

He added that with the right leadership and financial discipline at 'every level', the church could afford the rises. …