On Wednesday 8 February 2023, the General Synod of the Church of England will discuss, inter alia, the Draft Parochial Fees Order 2023 (GS 2288) for which the is an Explanatory Note (GS2288X). The Draft Parochial Fees (Amendment) Order provides that, for the rest of 2023, the parochial fees set under article 6 of the Parochial Fees and Scheduled Matters Amending Order 2019 will increase by the lower of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and 5% from the 2022 level.
As the CPI increase exceeded 5%, the fees will be 5% above the 2022 levels. The Draft Order also provides that for the whole of 2024, these fees will increase by the lower of the CPI and 5% from the 2023 level. The following extract from GS 2288X provides examples of the proposed changes.
Article 2: Prescribed fees and amendment
8. This article amends article 6(3) of the 2019 Order and provides that, once the Order comes into force, for the rest of this calendar year and until the end of the calendar year 2024, fees are to increase from the levels in the preceding year by the lower of the increase in CPI for the preceding August and 5%.
9. The practical result of the proposed amendment is illustrated by the following examples (and, in each example, the figures are to be rounded up to the nearest pound) —
(1) Until the amendment comes into force, the fee payable in 2023 for any particular matter is the fee payable for that matter in 2022 increased by 9.9%, the percentage by which CPI in August 2022 exceeded that for August 2021.
(2) Once the amendment has come into force, the fee payable for the rest of 2023 for any particular matter is the fee payable for that matter in 2022 increased by 5%, being the lower of (a) 9.9%, the percentage by which CPI in August 2022 exceeded that for August 2021, and (b) 5%.
(3) In 2024, the fee payable for the whole of that year for any particular matter is the fee payable for that matter in the part of 2023 that fell after the amendment came into force increased by the lower of (a) the percentage by which CPI in August 2023 exceeds that for August 2022 and (b) 5%.
10. By way of further explanation, the table below sets out the fees payable for some of the most frequently provided services for (i) 2022, (ii) 2023 under the current law, and (iii) 2023 under the law as it would be amended by this draft Order.
|Actual 2022||Current 2023||2023 under Draft Order|
|Burial in churchyard, preceding or following on from service in church||331||365||348|
|Burial in churchyard, on separate occasion, or without service in church||360||397||379|
The increases are based upon the lower of—(i) the percentage by which the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) for August is greater than that for August in the preceding calendar year, and (ii) 5%, rounded up to the nearest £1.