Second Church Estates Commissioner, Rt Hon Sir Tony Baldry MP, answered a written question from Rt Hon Frank Field MP on clergy retirement.
Mr Frank Field: To ask the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, whether the Church Commissioners are considering changing the compulsory retirement age for clergy.
Sir Tony Baldry: The retirement age of 70 for archbishops, bishops, deans, archdeacons, incumbent clergy and some other clerical office holders is provided for in the Ecclesiastical Offices (Age Limits) Measure 1975 and there are no plans for introducing amending legislation though the subject is kept under review.
There is already some flexibility. Extensions for up to two years beyond 70 are possible for incumbents where the bishop believes there are sufficient pastoral reasons and for up to a year for archbishops and bishops. In addition parish clergy may under the common tenure arrangements move to a new status on reaching the retirement age and, with the agreement of the bishop, continue to minister for fixed term periods.
It was only in 2011 that capability requirements were introduced for the first time and these do not apply to the large number of clergy who were already in office and chose to retain the freehold rather than switch to common tenure. Reverting to the pre 1975 situation of no retirement ages or significantly increasing the present retirement age are unlikely to be options until the new capability requirements have proved themselves and apply to the great majority of clergy.