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Letter: Bishops are not fat cats

CLARE GARNER describes the financing of church of England bishops as a "cost to the public purse" ("Cash row bishops plead poverty", 18 January). Not so. Not a penny of the running costs of the Church of England comes from the taxpayer. Support for the bishops is funded from the Church's historic assets managed by the Church Commissioners.

The Bishops of the Established Church have to meet particularly large expectations in national and civic life, over and above their heavy ecclesiastical duties. In relation to the demands upon them and compared with other major players in public life, the logistical and staff support they receive is in my view slender, often barely adequate. If anybody were to become a bishop hoping for a comfortable life, they'd be in for a nasty shock.

Dr Andrew Purkis

Lambeth Palace, London SE1