HC Deb 04 July 1899 vol 73 cc1416-7
MR. LAMBERT (Devon, South Molton)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture question of which I have given him private notice—namely, whether the total rates paid by the owners of tithes attached to benefices is £175,000 a year, and whether the sum of £244,569 was, at the time of the commutation, added to the titheowners' income for the payment of rates; and whether he will present a Return before the Committee stage of the Tithe Bill, showing what sums were granted for payment of titheowners' rates.


I only received notice of the question at three o'clock.


In view of the fact that the Bill is not to be taken on Thursday, I will postpone the question.


No; unfortunately, I cannot be here on Thursday, but I can answer the question now generally. The figure of £175,000. a year I believe, quite correct. With regard to the £244,569 stated to have been added at the time of commutation to the tithe owners' income, I cannot say whether that amount is correct without examination, because it may possibly include the additions made by the Tithe Commissioners where they considered that the bargain between the titheowner and the tithepayer was not a fair one. I would point out that it is not a correct description to use the words "added to the tithe-owners' income for the payment of rates." The sum in respect of rates was only added in those eases where a private composition had been made between the titheowner and the tithepayer. The difference between the rates and the commuted sum was received by the tithe-payer, so that it is not correct to say that the sum was generally added in respect of rates. It was only added where the rates had been previously paid by the tithepayer and not by the titheowner. It is impossible to present a Return before the Committee stage of the Bill, and I do not think it is necessary, as the whole of the information is obtainable in the Reports and Returns presented by the Tithe Commissioners.