HC Deb 25 June 1934 vol 291 cc789-90

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether, in view of the proposed intention to appoint a Royal Commission to inquire into the question of tithe and the long delay which must occur before the report of the Royal Commission can be laid before Parliament, he will present a short Bill during the present Session to give temporary relief to heavily-tithed land until the Government can take action after the Royal Commission have reported?


As my hon. Friend will be aware, the legislative proposals which the Government laid before Parliament in another place provided both for certain reliefs to tithe payers and for facilities for tithe owners in connection with the collection of tithe, but these proposals did not commend themselves to the parties involved. The Government clearly could not contemplate the introduction of further legislative proposals pending the report of the Royal Commission which is to be set up to inquire into the whole question.


Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Royal Commission may take from one to three years to report and that during that time these heavily tithed farmers will be unable to pay the tithe?


I am aware that a Royal Commission takes a long time to report. That is why I was very anxious to take action straightaway on these proposals, but, not meeting with acceptance, these proposals were not proceeded with, and clearly these heavily tithed farmers will be deprived of the relief which would have come to them through the operation of these proposals.