IN 2019, the total income of the 12,302 parishes in England was £1097 million, while their overall expenditure was £1071 million, newly released figures from Church House, Westminster, reveal. Parish giving was the largest source of income, which, including tax recovered, amounted to £610 million.
The biggest expense was £344 million for the diocesan parish share: a fall of 4.1 per cent between 2016 and 2019.
The report, Parish Finance Statistics 2019, released last month (News, 5 February), shows that, while income and expenditure have both risen since 2012, income has fallen in real terms each year since 2016 (News, 1 January). Expenditure fell in real terms in 2017, but it has risen by just under one per cent a year since then.
Although, overall, income exceeds expenditure, the gap between them is narrowing: from 4.7 per cent in 2017 to 2.4 per cent in 2019. While giving, which makes up about half of parish income, increased by £17 million in the three years to 2019, that equates in real terms to a drop of three per cent. Salaries and staff costs rose by £19 million, and church running costs increased by £19 million.
Regular planned giving was more than double the amount raised from collections and other giving, but, while the average weekly amount rose by more than one fifth in real terms, compared with ten years earlier, to £14.10, the number of donors fell from more than 600,000 to fewer than 500,000.
In just under half (48 per cent) of the 8350 parishes surveyed in detail, their annual income was not enough to cover annual expenditure.
Parish income in 2019 varied widely across the country, from less than £6600 to more than £292,200. The top 1230 earners accounted for 45 per cent of all parish income; 46 per cent of planned giving came from just 29 per cent of planned givers. They also paid nearly one third (31 per cent) of the diocesan share.