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Church Commissioners and their disbursements

by
19 June 2015

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From the Revd G. J. Boucher

Sir, - Congratulations to the Church Commissioners, who continue to produce a return on investment from the funds entrusted to them which exceeds their target return. The annual report for 2014 ( News, 22 May) shows an average return on investment over the past 30 years of inflation plus 6.3 per cent.

The report indicates that 27 per cent of the Commissioners' total funds of £6.63 billion are required to fund their pre-1998 pension liabilities (dioceses being responsible for post-1998 pensions through the Pensions Board). This leaves 73 per cent of "non-pension" funds (£4.841 billion).

The Commissioners currently spend £90 million p.a. out of the non-pension funds. This is a lot of money, but still it is only two per cent of non-pension funds as against the 6.3-per-cent return on investment. This suggests that significantly larger sums chould be spent, and that the current discussions about spending within the Commissioners and in the General Synod are timely.

May I plead for the Church's core activity in our parishes, schools, and dioceses. In the challenging times of the 1990s, responsibility for pensions costs was passed from the Church Commissioners to dioceses and so to parishes, with a negative impact on diocesan budgets and parish share. It is now possible for the Commissioners to have a positive impact on those budgets and parish shares by increasing the amounts devolved to dioceses.

I hope that the Commissioners will recognise and agree that it is chiefly in our parishes that the life of the Church of England lies, and that it is here that the freedom to share the gospel in ways both old and new is best released.

 

G. J. BOUCHER
2 The Precincts
Cambridge CB3 9HG

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