HC Deb 23 February 1914 vol 58 cc1377-8

asked whether the St. Catherine's Home and Refuge for Friendless and Fallen Girls were lessees from the Commissioners of Woods and Forests of No. 36, Osnaburgh Street, Regent's Park; and whether the Commissioners recently, as a condition for the renewal of the lease expiring in July, 1914, have not only insisted on an increase in the rent of 900 per cent., but an expenditure by this charity on buildings of £3,250, and the payment down of £325 as a cash deposit?


The St. Catherine's Home acquired some years ago a lease of No. 36, Osnaburgh Street, that had been granted under an agreement made in 1815 at £5 a year, an apportioned part of a rent agreed for a large area of land on part of which this house was built. The premises with other adjoining houses require rebuilding, and the sites should be rearranged. The home has been offered a new building lease of the site of the adjoining house, and of about half the site of No. 36, at £50 a year, which the Commissioner of Woods is advised is the fair value of the new site. The arrangement includes an expenditure by the home of £3,250, the amount required for the erection of a new building, and, as is usual, a temporary deposit (£325) has been asked for, but will be repaid on completion of the building.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the severity of the terms imposed upon this charity is owing to the fact that it has been compelled to be removed from the district, and cannot the Government see some way of showing some consideration when dealing with a charity?


I shall be glad to convey any representations of that kind to my right hon. Friend. I am informed that the terms are perfectly fair.


Could terms equally favourable not have been granted to this charity as those which were granted to Bedford College, of which the Lord Chancellor is president?


Has any good cause been shown why this charity should be dealt with differently than any other society?


I am not aware of any.


Does the unearned increment go to the Crown?