On the 22nd January the Bishop of Derby Lead a debate on a Church of England Measure reforming the Church Pensions system. The House of Lords considered and approved the Measure which will now move to the House of Commons.
Church of England Pensions (Amendment) Measure
Motion to Direct
Moved by The Lord Bishop of Derby
That this House do direct that, in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919, the Church of England Pensions (Amendment) Measure be presented to Her Majesty for the Royal Assent.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, this very short Measure makes a single change to the Church of England Pensions Measure 1997. It extends by a further seven years the period during which the Church Commissioners have power to use the capital of their general fund in order to fund their historic pension obligations. The Pensions Measure 1997 conferred the original power on the commissioners to spend capital in order to support their responsibility to pay pensions for clergy service before 1998. The original power came to an end in 2004, and has been extended twice since then, on each occasion for seven years.
The power to spend capital on pensions gives the commissioners the freedom to continue making payments to fund the work of the church. Without it they would have been forced to devote all, or almost all, the income of their general fund to the payment of pensions. Alternatively, they would have had to have invested their funds specifically for high-income returns, potentially eroding the real value of their capital for future generations. The pension payments will continue to increase over the next 20 years or so, especially as clergy and their spouses tend to be long-lived. The power to spend capital for this purpose is therefore likely to be needed for some time to come. I beg to move.
Lord Judd (Lab): My Lords, again ditto.
The Lord Bishop of Derby: I thank the noble Lord, Lord Judd, and the Ecclesiastical Committee for their support. I now invite the House to support the Measure.