Church may axe bishops to cut costs

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The Church of England is to consider axing bishops and other senior posts because of falling investment returns and a £352m pensions shortfall.

The Bradford Diocesan Synod will ask the Church at a General Synod meeting next month to support proposals to cut the number of episcopal and senior clergy posts.

The Rev Dr John Hartley, the vicar of Eccleshill in Bradford, who will propose the measure, said: "There has been no examination about whether we actually cut the number of bishops, archdeacons and suffragan bishops, cathedral canons and deans. All that has happened is that every time there have to be cuts, the parish clergy get cut."

The Bradford Diocesan Synod said in a note that the Church spent £7.3m maintaining houses for diocesan bishops in 2008.