A Church of England Bishop who has attacked the government’s record on helping the poor enjoys a salary and perks worth up to £250,000 a year, it has emerged. The Reverend Tim Stevens, Bishop of Leicester, was a key figure in a letter published by the church last week which included an attack on welfare reforms and backed the minimum wage.
As leader of the Bishops in the House of Lords, he has in the past also criticised the government over food banks, opposed their decision to cap welfare rises to 1 percent per annum, and worked with Labour to back an amendment to welfare reforms, the Sunday Times has reported.
Bishop Tim, as he likes to be known, receives an ample yet relatively modest £41,410 salary. But on top of that he has also been given use of a Victorian mansion, complete with turret, in Leicester’s most prime suburb, plus £15,000 to run his home and £25,000 in travel costs.
According to the church’s most recent figures, published in November 2013, he also received £9,150 in daily allowance for attending the Lords, and a further £2,652 from the Lords for travel. On top of that, the church commissioners provided a £133,000 allowance for staff, which can include personal staff such as a gardener, and a further £34,000 for office costs.
A spokesman for the Bishop denied that he employed a chauffer, but said that he had a part time worker who “does gardening and household bits and bobs like decorating and will drive him very occasionally”.
A spokesman for the church commissioners said: “The Bishop of Leicester does not have a driver. His home is the second smallest of those provided to bishops. Working costs and expenses relate mostly to running an office staffed by four people. The work of a diocesan bishop is comparable to that of a chairman of a medium-sized regional enterprise combined with national responsibilities.”
But Conservative MP Peter Bone said “He’s entitled to his opinions but the bishop is out of touch. What the government is doing is improving the lives of those who have been on welfare. That’s the very thing the bishops should be doing.” The Conservative Party declined to comment.