HC Deb 15 July 1907 vol 178 cc337-8
MR. MENZIES (Lanarkshire, S.)

I beg to ask the Secretary for Scotland whether, in view of the fact that passive resistance has been resorted to in Stone-house, Lanarkshire, against payment of assessments levied by the Church of Scotland upon tenants' improvements there, in order to build a new manse, he is aware that this new manse has been built and assessments have been arranged to be levied upon improvements of helpless tenants over a series of years, in spite of the petty attendance at the church itself and its generally unsound economic state; whether the Government intend next session to bring in a Bill to abolish this power of assessment and that especially over tenants' improvements; and, if not, whether a short Bill will be passed interdicting the Church of Scotland from further building of new manses or churches except with their own money, further increasing their ministers' salaries unless their congregations pay such increase, and in general interdicting the power of the Church to assess ratepayers for their own purposes. †See (4)Debates, clxxvii., 1161–2.

THE SECRETARY for SCOTLAND(Mr. Sinclair,) Forfarshire

I have no official information with regard to the facts stated by my hon. friend, and I am well aware of the friction and feeling which any such proceedings are apt to arouse. But I regret that in regard to the two suggestions which he makes I am unable to give any undertaking now as to legislation. As he is aware, the terms of the Resolution moved by the Member for East Edinburgh‡on this subject in February last indicate the direction in which legislation is desirable and were assented to by the Government.