§ Mr. Alison
The Commissioners board of governors will review the position with regard to a grant for the church urban fund towards the end of this year.
§ Ms. Hoey
Will the right hon. Gentleman convey to the board of the Church Commissioners the concern that will be felt in inner city areas if the grant of £1 million given in the past four years is not fully restored? It will be seen as a downgrading of the great work that the Church has done in the poorest areas in the inner cities and among the disadvantaged. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to remind the Church Commissioners of the words of the Archbishop of Canterbury who said last week of the church urban fund:It brings hope where none seemed possible.Will the right hon. Gentleman convey those thoughts to the governors?
§ Mr. Alison
I take careful note of what the hon. Lady has said and I will certainly convey to the Church Commissioners her views about the need to return to the £1 million grant. However, she will bear two points in mind. The church urban fund this year will, from its own resources, be able to maintain the level of its grants even in default of the Church Commissioners' £1 million, because it already has a substantial income. The money that we would otherwise give to the church urban fund this year will go to clergy stipends, and will especially be slanted and directed towards the poorest inner city parishes. What the church urban fund loses, the poorer parishes get through the maintenance of their stipends.