§ 69. Mr. LOOKER
asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware of the hardship that has been caused to many incumbents owing to the delay which has taken place in the receipt by them of the tithe they were entitled to since the collection was taken over by Queen Anne's Bounty; what steps are being taken to remedy this delay and to ensure that it does not recur in future; what the cost of collection has been up to date; and how this compares with the original estimate?
My hon. Friend will understand that I am in no way responsible for Queen Anne's Bounty, upon whom was placed the duty of dealing with ecclesiastical tithe rentcharge under the Tithe Act, 1925. I am, however, sending my hon. Friend a copy of a memorandum which I have obtained from the Bounty, explaining the steps which have been or are proposed to be taken to deal with the situation. From this memorandum my hon. Friend will see that the delay to which he refers was due to initial difficulties in bringing the new system into operation, and that delays from these causes are not expected to recur. The memorandum also explains that the average cost of collection has proved to be about 31 per cent., which is believed to be a saving on the average cost before the Bounty took over the duty.