HC Deb 12 August 1913 vol 56 cc2250-1
47. Mr. J. HOGGE

asked the Prime Minister whether under the Churches (Scotland) Act, 1905, the Free Church of Scotland claimed to have 160 full sanctioned charges, and had churches and manses allocated to them for that number and funds for equipment of same; whether ninety of these charges are still vacant; whether he is aware that the church and manse in North Knapdale were allocated to the Free Church and that no minister has been settled there, while the manse has been let on a lease of five years to a boarding housekeeper; whether the manse at Kilmarton is let to a minister of the Church of Scotland, whose church is in a neighbouring parish; and, in view of these and other facts previously brought to his notice, will he appoint a small Commission to take evidence during the Recess as to other places where property and funds are being diverted from the purposes for which the donors intended them; and will he include in the reference to such Commission the duty of preparing a Return of the members in full communion as at 31st December, 1912, in each of the congregations claimed by the Free Church as a sanctioned charge, showing the income and expenditure of each apart from the Endowments allocated under the Churches (Scotland) Act, 1905?


Until I have received a reply from the authorities of the Free Church of Scotland, to whom my hon. Friend's question has been sent for observations, I am not prepared to consider the suggestion.


Will the right hon. Gentleman be able to give an answer this Session or next?


Certainly next Session. I am afraid I cannot give it this Session. I am told the authorities of the Free Church are on holiday.


Is not the right hon. Gentleman aware that the filling up of all these churches has been progressive, and that it is only a question of time for them all to be filled?


I should hesitate very much to express an opinion on that point.

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