Church Commissioners Written Answers: Clergy Dispossession and Retirement

Andrew Selous MP, representing the Church Commissioners, gave the following written answers to questions from MPs on 14th March 2022:

Ben Bradshaw MP (Lab): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, how many clergy of incumbent status have been dispossessed in each of the last five years, broken down by (a) diocese and (b) year by year; and how many schemes, including dispossession of office, are being prepared.

Andrew Selous MP (Con): Under the Mission and Pastoral Measure 2011 clergy may be dispossessed of their office when changes are made to the administrative geography for worship, ministry, and mission, such as parish or benefice boundaries. The table below summarises the number of dispossessions for 2017-2021 by diocese, based on the date when they legally came into effect. There are currently 5 schemes where the process has been started, but where we do not yet know the outcome.

YearDioceseclergy dispossession
2021St Albans2


Rosie Duffield MP (Lab): To ask the Member for South West Bedfordshire, representing the Church Commissioners, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of reforming the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations 2009 to bring measures relating to the mandatory retirement age for clergy into line with provisions on age discrimination within the Equality Act 2010.

Andrew Selous MP (Con): The current provisions are already compatible with the age provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which allows a retirement age of 65 or over where there is an objective justification. The Terms of Service Regulations were last amended in 2017 and no consideration has been given since then to amending them further.


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