UK - The Church of England looks set to retain its defined benefit scheme.
The General Synod – the CoE’s rulemaking body – voted to note and approve an internal pensions report which recommends retaining the £135m scheme.
The report – Clergy Stipends, Pensions and Other Financial Issues – also urges the accrual period for a full pension to be increased from 37 years to 40.
A final vote on the report will be made at the CoE Synod next year.
Bishop of Ripon and Leeds, John Packer, told the General Synod: “There was massive support for retaining a defined benefit pension scheme, despite what seems to be happening in the secular world.
“The comparatively low clergy stipend and the requirement to live in a tied house means that pension security is particularly crucial to clergy.”
Packer said there had been little enthusiasm for alternative pension scheme structures that had been mooted.
But the Reverend Jonathan Baker – a vicar from Reading – said that while his heart told him to vote for a defined benefit scheme, he believed its retention could lead to possible financial risks for the church in the future.
The report was the subject of a lengthy debate at the Synod.
One of the main areas of debate centred on the recommendation to remain contracted out of the state second pension.
John Freeman, a layman from Chester, said: “The decision to opt out of the state second pension is a mistake. It is a very generous scheme.”
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