Ecclesiastical Committee Two-Hundred and Seventeenth Report

Report by the Ecclesiastical Committee on the Church of England (Pensions Measure)

  The Ecclesiastical Committee has met and considered the


referred to it under the provisions of the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act 1919 and has had the assistance in deliberation of the General Synod thereon.

  1.  The measure contains a number of provisions relating to the Church of England Pensions Board and to the Church Commissioners.

  2.  One of its chief purposes is to amalgamate the three previous augmentation funds (the Clergy Pensions Augmentation Fund, the Clergy (Widows and Dependants) Pensions Augmentation Fund and the Church Workers Pensions Augmentation Fund) with the General Purposes Fund. The aim of this is to give greater flexibility to the Pensions Board in making use of the funds under its administration.

  3.  The Measure's other chief purpose is to renew the provisions of the Pensions Measure 1997 which give the Church Commissioners power to expend capital in support of their pension liabilities. This power expires on 31 December 2004. The effect of the present measure is to renew that power for a further seven years.

  4.  Representatives of the Synod assisted the Committee in its deliberations on the original version of the Measure on 22 April 2002. At that meeting the Committee satisfied itself that the current rate of capital expenditure—1¾ per cent—was appropriate (Q34). But the draft of the Measure then before the Committee allowed for further renewals of the power to expend capital to be made by statutory instrument. A majority of the Committee felt that such renewals should not be made by delegated legislation and that any renewals should be made by further measures. (Indeed, the Committee observe that further renewals are almost certain to be necessary and that if the real return on assets falls short of actuarial expectations the rate of expenditure of capital may increase.)

  5.  Subject to the removal of the provision to allow further renewal of the power to expend capital to be made by statutory instrument, and certain minor drafting points, the Committee were minded to find the Measure expedient.

  6.  In July 2002 the Synod unanimously approved a second version of the Measure, revised upon the lines proposed by the Committee, and it was submitted for the Committee's consideration. The Committee is satisfied that its concerns have been met by the revised draft and is of the opinion that the Measure is expedient.

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Prepared 20 November 2002