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EDITIONS
Friday, 31 May, 2002, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
Pennies from heaven for ministers
General Assembly
The general assembly is meeting in Edinburgh
The Church of Scotland's general assembly has approved pay rises of up to 15% for ministers, which will add a 1m to its wage bill.

The vote came as the assembly was warned about an ever deepening financial crisis facing the Kirk.

The Kirk's board of ministry proposed the new scales because many ministers with families are finding it hard to make ends meet.

However, due to the financial problems the new wage structure will be phased in between 2004 and 2006.


It doesn't look good if we're raising wages way above what poor people, who we're trying to reach out to, could earn.

Rev Ewan Aitken
A newly qualified minister - who currently earns about 18,700 - would now be immediately eligible to join a sliding scale of increases instead of waiting five years.

It will also end a situation which means ministers with richer congregations can be paid up to 15% more than those in less affluent areas.

The deal is to be phased in over three years - from 2004 - to take account of the Church's financial difficulties.

Those who opposed the pay rise included Rev Ewan Aitken, of St Margaret's Church, Restalrig.

He said: "It doesn't look good if we're raising wages way above what poor people, who we're trying to reach out to, could earn.

"And the church can't afford this."

However, Rev Scott Rennie, from near Forfar, said: "I don't think we should feel embarrassed about voting ourselves an increase to keep pace with the price of living.

"Many of us have young families with bills to pay like anyone else."

See also:

31 May 02 | Scotland
29 May 02 | Scotland
28 May 02 | Scotland
27 May 02 | Scotland
26 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 02 | Scotland
25 May 02 | Scotland
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