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Out of the question

07 September 2011

Your answers

Is the “parish share”, levied by each diocese, enforceable?

No. The parish share or diocesan quota is a voluntary payment made by a PCC to the diocesan board of finance. If it is assessed and de­manded in such a way as to become a quasi-tax, then it may be unlawful, since there is no parliamentary sanction for it.

It is possible, however, for the voluntary payment to become legally enforceable by means of a contract. PCCs should, therefore, avoid entering into agreements whereby past arrears or future pay­ments of parish share are promised in return for some benefit, such as an extra member of staff.

(The Revd) Paul Benfield

The question is not applicable in every diocese.

When we moved to Cumbria two years ago, we found that in the Carlisle diocese there is no parish share or quota. Instead, each parish makes a “parish offer­ing” to the diocese according to its self-assessed ability to pay.

This is a voluntary contribution, and so the concept of enforceability does not and cannot arise.

Bruce Wood

Address for questions and more answers: Out of the Question, Church Times, 13-17 Long Lane, London EC1A 9PN.


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