THE clergy-pension scheme's deficit is likely to have increased
since 2009, the chairman of the Church of England Pensions Board,
Dr Jonathan Spencer, said last week. It was "likely" that higher
contributions would be needed from dioceses.
In an open letter, published on the C of E website on Tuesday of
last week, Dr Spencer said that the scheme was being valued "as at
31 December 2012", having last been valued "at 31 December
Dr Spencer explained that a valuation was "a progress report on
how the scheme is doing, and it is used to make sure that it stays
on course to provide the promised benefits over the next 50 years
He continued: "Despite the Pension Board's assets having
performed well, wider movements in financial markets mean that the
deficit will have increased since the last valuation in 2009."
Nevertheless, it was "too early to have an accurate figure" as to
how much it had increased by.
"We expect to know more in early summer, when we will also be
able to start looking at a range of assumptions which affect the
level of diocesan contributions and the time period over which the
deficit should be paid off. Various options will be considered if -
as is likely - somewhat higher diocesan contributions are
The amount clergy received in their individual pensions was "a
matter for Synod", not the Pensions Board, which "is responsible
for administering the clergy pension scheme rather than deciding
the nature of the benefits to be provided . . . But we have already
said that we are not expecting there to be a need for any changes
to the benefits provided under the scheme."
Dr Spencer said that it was "too soon to tell" whether the
Government's plans to replace the second state pension with a
higher main state pension, after 2017, "will be beneficial or not
for clergy. . . The time to address these issues will in practice
be around the time of the 2015 valuation of the clergy scheme, by
which time the details of the state pension changes should be