Pay rise of 7% recommended for Church of England clergy after union demand

A pay rise has been recommended for Church of England clergy after the first formal demand for an increase amid struggles with the higher cost of living.

The church said a 7% increase has been recommended, up from the 5% originally proposed by the Archbishops’ Council Central Stipends Authority (CSA).

The rise has been made possible due to a reduction in the contribution rate for the clergy-funded pension scheme, the church said.

Last summer, the Unite union said it had submitted a formal pay claim for a 9.5% rise in the clergy stipend from April 2024.

The union, which represents over 2,000 clergy and lay officers in the Church of England, said it was the first time in the church’s history that a formal pay claim had been submitted for clergy.

At the time, Unite activist and member of the clergy Sam Maginnis said the challenges of a rising cost of living had seen “many clergy” having to turn to charity to make ends meet.

Confirming the rise on Thursday, a Church of England spokesperson said: “For 2024/25 the CSA has recommended a 7% increase in both the NMS (National Minimum Stipend) and the NSB (National Stipend Benchmark).

“The CSA had originally recommended a 5% increase in both the NMS and the NSB.

“The recommendation was changed following the announcement in December 2023 of a reduction in the contribution rate for the clergy-funded pension scheme from 28% to 25% from April 2024 which enabled the CSA to reconsider the stipend recommendations and agree a higher increase.”

Unite said the rise would bring the NMS to £28,670 from April and the NSB to £30,638.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The dedication and commitment of Unite’s CEECA (Church of England Clergy and Employee Advocates) activists on behalf of their members has moved the church into providing this much-needed increase to the stipend.

“However, financial hardship and a lack of support in ministry remain a real concern for CEECA members. Unite’s fight to improve financial wellbeing and working conditions for Church of England clergy will continue.”

A report with the 7% increase recommendation will be going for information to the General Synod – the Church’s parliament – which meets later this month.