§ 22. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)
To ask the honourable Member for Middlesbrough, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment the Church Commissioners have made of the impact on the recruitment to the stipendiary ministry of the financial position of the Church of England. 
§ Second Church Estates Commissioner (Mr. Stuart Bell)
The Church Commissioners have made no assessment in those terms. The Church trains all candidates whose call to ministry is affirmed through the selection process, without imposing financial limitations. The majority of the funds needed to support the Church's ministry come from the generous giving of its members, and training is funded from this source.
§ David Taylor
Is it not the case that the amount of funds available per stipendiary minister varies widely from diocese to diocese? Is my hon. Friend concerned that in some rural dioceses, and in some inner-city ones, the cash available to recruit and appoint talented and well motivated men and women to the stipendiary ministry is disappearing fast? Does he fear that issues related to that will arise in the medium term?
§ Mr. Bell
I am grateful to my hon. Friend. May I say at the outset that we in the Church are very grateful for the giving that takes place throughout the country in different dioceses, both rural and urban? He will be aware that we have 9,500 stipendiary ministers engaged in the diocesan and parochial ministry. Although there are concerns about how they may be funded in the future, we are grateful for the giving by our members and by people who go to church on a Sunday. We hope to meet any concerns that my hon. Friend has in respect of rural and urban area ministries.
§ Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)
Is it not a fact that the Church Commissioners make a significant, substantial contribution towards clergy pay and pensions? If they are to continue to do so, is it not equally obvious that they must be encouraged to make the best possible returns on their assets, within what I would describe as self-regulated ethical constraints?
§ Mr. Bell
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman. As he knows, we have an ethical policy in the Church in relation to our investments. In 2001, the Commissioners provided some £160 million for the support of the Church. That was 20 per cent. of the Church's total expenditure of about £800 million. It is not often 18 understood just how much money goes into the Church to meet its obligations to the clergy, to pensions, to the fabric of our cathedrals and even, with the help of the Government, for redundant churches.