HC Deb 27 July 1910 vol 19 cc2249-51

The hereditary revenues which were by Section 1 of the Civil List Act, 1901, directed to be carried to and made part of the Consolidated Fund (including the Osborne Estate to which that section was subsequently applied by the Osborne Estate Act, 1902) shall, during the present reign and a period of six months afterwards, be paid into the Exchequer, and be made part of the Consolidated Fund.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."


I do not propose to move an Amendment, but I will say what I have to say on the question, that this Clause stand part. The Government have greatly simplified the form of the Bill. This Clause in particular now represents in very few words an enormous clause which used to figure in previous Bills, but it is curious that these words now mean something very different from what they used to mean. The same words as they appear in the Civil List in the reign of George III. were held to include the surrender of the Duchy of Lancaster, but now, though in the same form, they exclude the Duchy of Lancaster. The Civil List Act passed in the reign of George III. provided for the surrender of the hereditary revenues, excepting only those of the Duchy of Cornwall. That exception is no longer inserted since it is held that the Duchies are not covered by the words of the Clause. In 1889 there was a full debate upon the Duchies, in which were stated the reasons for what has taken place in regard to the Duchy of Lancaster, and I do not propose to go over those reasons again. On some future occasion I hope the Government will propose that the Duchy of Lancaster should be taken over by the public in the way it was taken over in the early years of the reign of George III. The reason is that we have now before us evidence confirming the views taken in the Debates in 1889 that the revenues of the Duchy may be subject, and have been subject, to undue pressure through not allowing a sufficient amount to be placed to capital reserve. Sir Michael Hicks Beach foresaw that difficulty in 1889, and at that time he stated that the ground for saying that the amount set aside for Privy Purse was not unduly large was that there were private residences at Sandringham, Osborne and Balmoral which were expensive to maintain, and must be maintained "out of the Privy Purse and the Duchy of Lancaster," which he described as an "appanage"—exactly what it was not. The Duchy of Cornwall is an appanage, but the Duchy of Lancaster is not. But at that time it was still shown that these very same words as to the hereditary revenues formerly covered the Duchy of Lancaster. Therefore, I may express the strong hope that the revenues of the Duchy of Lancaster may, under some future Act, be brought into the general hereditary revenues, and managed in connection with the other hereditary lands of the Crown. There is no reason for the distinction made between them. They were certainly formerly covered by the words which governed the others, and should under all correct principles of public management be brought in.