I recently received a letter from The Church of England Pensions Board informing me that my church pension would remain at the same level for 2010 as it was for 2009. In other words there would be no increase...........well, what a surprise! The letter explained that inflation had fallen rather than risen according to the Retail Prices Index. I wonder on what the RPI basis its figures. My gas and electric bills have risen dramatically, the price of petrol in my area ranges from £1.15 to £1.20 per litre which is far more than a year ago, my insurance premiums have increased etc.etc. and I’ve not noticed any reduction in my other household bills.
The Pension Board seem to have many difficulties and future Clergy Pensions are going to be reduced so that clergy will have to work longer to earn them. Up until 1997 clergy pensions were paid by the Church Commissioners; after that date pensions have been funded via a Pension Fund set up for the purpose.
Way back, around 1985, I wrote to the then Pensions Board when I discovered that there was no Pension Fund and warned them of the danger of this situation. Before ordination I worked for a major British Insurance Company where, amongst other things, I was involved in Pension Planning so I did know a little about pensions and the funding of same. (With my colleagues I designed a pension for the staff of that company to replace a non-contributory pension with a contributory pension. Despite the fact that staff were going to have to make a small contribution each month they did so willingly to gain the additional benefits, including inflation proofing, which the new scheme provided.) I received back from the Church Commissioners a curt letter which told me, politely, to mind my own business. It came as no surprise to me when just a few years later a crisis in funding pensions had arisen.