HC Deb 15 September 1893 vol 17 cc1280-2

I beg to ask the hon. Member for Merionethshire, as a Charity Commissioner, whether any effort is being made to give effect to the recommendations contained in the Report which Mr. Skirrow, years ago, presented to the Charity Commissioners concerning the manner in which the funds of St. Katherine's Hospital, in the Regent's Park, were being appropriated; whether the present master receives a stipend of £1,200 per year, and lives in the house assigned to him as an official residence, or lets it, as his predecessor did, for £700 per year, and adds that amount to his stipend; what are the duties of his office; whether the brethren who receive £300 and the sisters who receive £200 per annum now reside in the houses allotted to them or let the houses and receive the rents; how many boys and girls are being educated out of the funds of the hospital; how much of the endowment is expended upon education, and how much upon salaries, gifts, and expenses of management; and why the scheme for the reform of the hospital, which was prepared years ago by the Charity Commissioners and practically endorsed by the School Board for London, which inquired into the endowments of the hospital, has not been carried into effect?


As it has more than once been stated, in reply to questions put by the hon. Member, the Commissioners have no power to deal by scheme with St. Katherine's Hospital, except upon a sufficient application. No such application has been made to them. The master receives the salary of £1,200 a year, including an allowance of £400 in respect of house rent. The house assigned as the master's residence was sold in the year 1888, and the proceeds added to the general endowment of the hospital. The Commissioners have no other information as to the duties of the office of master than that which is contained in the documents already before Parliament—namely, Mr. Skirrow's Report presented to the House of Lords in 1866, the Report of the Royal Commission presented to both Houses of Parliament in 1871, and the Rules by which the hospital is governed, which were laid on the Table of the House in 1889. The Commissioners have no information as to the residence of the brethren and sisters; nor are they aware how many boys and girls are now being educated out of the funds of the hospital. The expenditure of the endowment is apportioned as follows in the accounts for the year 1892:—Education, £561; salaries, £3,209; gifts, £190; expenses of management, £3,193. The Charity Commissioners have prepared no such scheme as is suggested by the question. The Charity Commissioners cannot deal with this Charity, except with the consent of the majority of the Governors. I regret that consent has not been given to deal with what seems to me to be a scandal.


May I ask whether, in view of the extraordinary statements made by the hon. Gentleman concerning the waste and extravagance in this Charity, and in view of the fact that one of the Charity Commissioners, Mr. Skirrow, made a Report on the hospital some years ago, the Charity Commissioners will not deem it part of their duty to take immediately the necessary steps to reform the institution?


Whatever may be the views of the Charity Commissioners on the matter, they cannot deal with this Charity, because, according to the law, they have no authority to make schemes for Charities whose incomes exceed £50, except with the permission of the Governing Body of that Charity. The Commissioners have tried on several occasions to secure legislation altering this, but unfortunately they have failed.

MR. BRUNNER (Cheshire, Northwich)

Will the hon. Gentleman invite the Governing Body of this Charity to make the application to which he refers?


An invitation has, I believe, been made, but has not been accepted.


Is the master of the hospital a clergyman or a layman?


I cannot say, but will obtain the information if the hon. Gentleman desires it.