§ MR. D. F. GODDARD (Ipswich)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for the Thirsk Division of Yorkshire, as a Charity Commissioner, with regard to the new scheme which has been issued for the Wattisfield Town Estate Charity, Suffolk, dividing the charity originally left for the use and benefit of the inhabitants into one-third ecclesiastical and two-thirds general, although for the last 25 years less than one-sixth of the income has been used for ecclesiastical purposes, whether he is aware that the rector of the parish, besides being, with the churchwardens, sole trustee of the ecclesiastical part, has been constituted perpetua x-officio trustee of the non-ecclesiastical part; that the parish council has strongly protested against the scheme; and that this protest has been endorsed by the parish meeting and a memorial signed by 80 out of 100 householders in the parish; and, if these facts are correct, do the Commissioners intend to modify the scheme to meet the views of the inhabitants of the parish?
MR. GRANT LAWSON (York, N. R. Thirsk)
No scheme has been made under the Charitable Trusts' Acts. The endowment being held in part for ecclesiastical purposes, an Order for its apportionment and management was 1605 made under the Local Government Act, 1894, Section 75; the Order was settled with special reference to the fact that payments have from time to time been made by the Trustees for a great number of years for exceptional expenses in connection with the Church; the other facts stated in the Question are substantially correct, though a memorial in support of the Order was received from 28 persons describing themselves as the principal landowners in the parish; the Commissioners made the Order after giving very careful consideration to all the circumstances and after a local inquiry by an Assistant Commissioner and cannot modify it; the Order is, however, subject to appeal to the High Court, under the conditions presented by Section 70 (2) Local Government Act.