Mr. T. F. RICHARDS
asked the hon. Member for the Crewe Division, as representing the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, whether he can state the number of licences granted on the estates of the Commission for the years 1883 and 1908, the amount of the total revenue, and the increase or decrease in the amount from those licences; whether these licences have increased or decreased in number; and whether any of these licences have lapsed or been forfeited, and, if so, how many?
§ Mr. J. TOMKINSON
The number of fully licensed public-houses upon the estates of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners is believed to be 325 at the present time, and to have been 396 in 1883, a reduction of 71 having been effected during that period. Twenty-eight of these public-houses are rural inns let from year to year or on short terms; the remainder are held from the Commissioners for the residues of the terms of long leases at ground rents, and the reduction above mentioned has been effected upon the falling-in of such leases and the refusal of the Commissioners to allow the continued user of the premises of public-houses. The Commissioners have no means of knowing the amount of the revenue received from the licences granted in respect of these premises; they are concerned only with the ground rents which they receive, for the most part fixed many years ago, and by the Commissioners' predecessors in title, and it would be impossible to distinguish what part (if any) of the ground rent could be described as being in respect of the value of the licence in any case.