HC Deb 07 March 1927 vol 203 c831

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, having regard to the fact that the Government repeatedly stated on the passage of the Tithe Act, 1925, that the clergy were to receive £100 free of rates and that where tithe is held jointly by an incumbent and a lay tithe-owner, or where tithe is held jointly by two incumbents, the tithe is still liable to full rates, he will undertake to introduce legislation to correct this liability for rates and so restore to all incumbents the promised £100 free of rateable liability?


In order to qualify for the relief from rates granted by the Tithe Act, 1925, in respect of tithe rent-charge attached to a benefice, all that was necessary in the cases to which the hon, and learned Member refers was for the incumbents concerned to arrange with the assistance of Queen Anne's Bounty, for a legal division of the tithe rent-charge to be made prior to the day appointed for the governing provisions of the Act to come into force. The Act was passed in December, 1925, while the appointed day referred to is the 31st March, 1927, and considerable time was, therefore, available for the legal divisions to which I have alluded. I understand that a large number have already been made, and that more will he completed before the appointed day. I cannot, therefore, undertake to introduce any new legislation dealing with the matter.


Is there any means at present to compel such a division as the right hon. Gentleman suggests?


I do not think there can be any difficulty in getting a division. It is only a matter of applying. Then, in the ordinary course, the Ministry will make an apportionment.