HC Deb 16 February 1894 vol 21 cc603-5
MR. D. THOMAS (Merthyr Tydfil)

I beg to ask the hon. Member for Merionethshire (1) if he can state the total cost of the inquiry by the Assistant Commissioner into the Charities of Denbighshire; (2) whether an Assistant Commissioner, under the Act of 1887 (Clause 42), has been appointed to inquire into the charities of Merionethshire, and what the probable cost will be; (3) whether it was contemplated by the Charity Commissioners, when the Act of 1887 was passed, that similar inquiries should be carried on simultaneously in North and South Wales, but that they failed to obtain the sanction of the Lords of the Treasury to an inquiry beyond the limits of Denbighshire when they first made the application; (4) and if he will state why a South Wales county has not, in the present instance, been selected?


(1) The total cost of the inquiry by the Assistant Commissioner into the charities of Denbighshire cannot be stated, as the whole of that cost was charged to the Parliamentary Vote for the Charity Commission, and no separate account has been kept of some of the particulars of that cost, such as employment of clerical staff, and printing. The only particulars of which a separate account has been kept are— payments of fees to Assistant Commissioner, which amounted to £822 8s. 5d.; payments to Assistant Commissioner for travelling allowances, and incidental expenses, which amounted to £152 7s. 8d. —total £974 16s. 1d. (2) The Assistant Commissioner appointed to inquire into the charities of Merionethshire has not. been appointed under the Charitable Trusts Act, 1887. The inquiry is conducted under the provisions of the Charity Inquiries (Expenses) Act, 1892, which provides that a County, or County Borough Council may pay, or contribute towards, the expenses of such an inquiry as this. The estimated cost of the inquiry is about £400; towards which the County Council of Merioneth has undertaken to contribute £200. (3) The hon. Member will find an Official Statement on this subject in the 36th Report of the Commissioners, paragraphs 8 to 11, and Appendix A. (4) Since that Report was presented, the passing of the Charity Inquiries (Expenses) Act, 1892, has entirely changed the position of this question. It no longer rests with the Commissioners, or the Treasury, to select any county for an inquiry; but it is open to any county to obtain an inquiry, if willing to pay the whole of the expenses under the Act, immediately, or, if willing to pay a part only, as soon as provision can be made for the other part in the Parliamentary Estimates. Merionethshire has been the first Welsh county to take advantage of the Act of 1892; and has, accordingly, obtained an inquiry. But the County of Carmarthen is also in communication with the Commissioners and the Treasury with a view to having a like inquiry under the Act as soon as possible.