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And cut down on parties, get rid of chauffeurs

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The Church of England has told its bishops to get with the real world, learn about computers, office management and cut down on their lavish spending.

A report, commissioned by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, has taken two years to compile and considered why some clergy were living on the poverty line while some £16 million a year was being spent on looking after the Church's ranks.

The cost of running a bishop has jumped ten per cent in the last year - five times inflation - and smaller numbers of churchgoers are being asked to stump up the difference. The Church has therefore decided that bishops should stop living a life of splendour and behave a little more in keeping with their modern-day level of influence.

This means out go the chauffeurs to be replaced with taxis. Smaller houses in less expensive areas. Less on gardeners. Asking the missus to act as a secretary (if she has the skills). Cutting down on lavish hospitality (consecrations come in at £2,250 a pop). And so on.

It also calls for the boys to be trained in using computers, although the Internet still seems not to have entered the clergy's consciousness. The idea, presumably, is to turn the upper ranks into lean, mean preaching machines. Good luck. ®

Factoids

  • In 1999, the Church spent £11.8 million in running costs
  • Your average bishop will cost you £100,000 a year, although the range is from £45,000 to £130,000. For this you get a 24-hour on-call representative of God with a funny hat. A medical consultant would be looking at the same sort of money but with physical rather than spiritual healing skills.
  • It costs £3.3 million a year to house the clergy. £725,000 to tend their gardens
  • There's 113 senior clerics in the UK

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