§ (1) The provisions of this section shall have effect with respect to liabilities to repair chancels of churches or other ecclesiastical buildings arising from the ownership of—
- (a) tithe rentcharge extinguished by this Act in respect of which stock is to be issued under this Act;
- (b) tithe rentcharge extinguished by this Act to which the provisions of section twenty-one of this Act apply; or
- (c) land in which merger or extinguishment of tithe rentcharge has taken effect and to which the provisions of section one of the Tithe Act, 1839, apply.
§ (2) In respect of liability to repair arising from the ownership of a tithe rentcharge extinguished by this Act in respect of which stock is to be issued under this Act, the Diocesan Authority shall be entitled to receive a part of the stock to be issued in respect of the rentcharge equal in amount to such a sum (in this section and in the Chancels Schedule to this Act referred to as 'the sum required for repairs') as may be reasonably sufficient, having regard to the condition of the chancel or building at the appointed day, to provide for the cost of future repairs thereof and to provide a capital sum the income of which will be sufficient to insure it for a sum adequate to reinstate it in the event of its being destroyed by fire:
§ Provided that where the rentcharge was vested immediately before the appointed day for an interest in fee simple in possession in any of the following corporations or bodies, namely, Queen Anne's Bounty, the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, a spiritual rector, an ecclesiastical corporation, or a university or college to which the Universities and College Estates Act, 1925, applies, the foregoing provisions of this sub-section shall not have effect, but the corporation or body shall be subject to liability to repair in like manner as if the rentcharge had continued in existence and in the ownership of the corporation or body.
§ (3) In respect of liability to repair arising from the ownership of a tithe rentcharge extinguished by this Act to which the provisions of section twenty-one of this Act apply, the land out of which the rentcharge issued immediately before the appointed day and the owner thereof for the time being shall be subject to liability to repair in like manner as if the land had been land to which the provisions of section one of the Tithe Act, 1839, apply.2120
§ (4) In respect of liability to repair arising from the ownership of land in which merger or extinguishment of a tithe rentcharge has taken effect and to which the provisions of section one of the Tithe Act, 1839, apply, the land and the owner thereof for the time being shall be subject to liability to repair in like manner as if this Act had not passed.
§ (5) The foregoing provisions of this section shall have effect subject to the provisions of Part I of the Chancels Schedule to this Act which relate to the apportionment of liability to repair in certain cases.
§ (6) Where the Diocesan Authority are entitled to receive under this section a part of the stock to be issued in respect of any rentcharge or rentcharges, one-half of any expenses appearing to the Commission to have been reasonably incurred by the Authority or by Queen Anne's Bounty in estimating the sum required for repairs shall be made good to them by the issue to them of a further part of that stock equal in amount to the said one-half:
§ Provided that the Commission may reduce the amount to be so made good to such extent as they think just and equitable in a case in which the liability to repair is apportionable as mentioned in Part I of the Chancels Schedule to this Act and a substantial part of such liability is not extinguished.
§ (7) The provisions of Part II of the Chancels Schedule to this Act shall have effect with respect to procedure and other matters relating to the receipt of stock by the Diocesan Authority under this section.
§ (8) This section and the Chancels Schedule to this Act shall have effect in relation to a chancel or building in Wales or Monmouthshire subject to the modifications specified in Part III of that Schedule.
§ (9) In this section and in the Chancels Schedule to this Act the expression 'Diocesan Authority' has the meaning assigned to it by the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations Measure, 1923, and that Measure, as amended by the Ecclesiastical Dilapidations (Amendment) Measure, 1929, is referred to as 'the Measure.'—[Mr. Elliot.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 11.7 a.m.
§ The MINISTER of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Elliot)
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
I indicated in Committee when we came to Clause 31 that I should require to make more extensive Amendments than we were able to do at that time, and that it would be advisable not to move Government Amendments then and the Committee accepted that course. The Clause deals with the liability of the owner of lay tithe rentcharge in respect of repairs to the chancels of churches, 2121 and makes provision how that is to be dealt with. The new Clause is in substitution for Clause 31, which I shall later move to omit. It does not depart at all in principle from the present Clause, but is an improvement on it. It has to be read in conjunction with a Schedule which will be moved later. Clause 31 originally provided that the diocesan authority or the representative body, as the case might be, would be entitled to a charge on the stock issued in respect of the amount necessary to provide for the repair of chancels. The new Clause provides that the stocks shall be handed over to the authority concerned, that is, the diocesan authority or the representative body. That is obviously a more satisfactory method than continuing the charge upon the stock. The second point is that the tithe-owner will only be liable to pay a proportionate part of the cost of chancel repairs having regard to the amount of tithe rentcharge owned by him for which he is to receive stock. That is a point of obvious justice, that the Church should not be able to make a demand for a liability in respect of which the tithe-owner is not receiving a sum.
The third point to which I wish to draw attention is that provision is being made for the apportionment of the liability to repair where the tithe rentcharges in the district are owned by different persons. That is a very desirable change. The fourth point of difference is that it is made clear in the new Clause that any existing liability for the repair of chancels which attaches to the ownership of land in which tithe rentcharge was merged under the Act of 1839 or Clause 21 of the Bill, remains unaffected. The provision that the tithe owner shall bear only a proportionate liability was inserted because, under the law as it stands, it is possible for the Church authorities to recover the total cost of the repair and insurance of the chancel of the church from the owner of a small portion of the original commuted tithe rentcharge where the balance is in other hands. It is not long since the Court of Appeal drew attention to this fact and stated that Parliament should put the matter right, and I ask Parliament to do so to-day. The Schedule deals merely with the machinery for the handing over to and vesting in the Church authorities of the stock required to meet the amount of the liability to 2122 repair. If the House desires a further explanation, I shall be ready to give it, but the points are highly technical and we have a long programme before us. Unless anyone wishes for a further explanation I should, perhaps, commend the Clause to the House, and ask that we may be allowed to get on to the further stages of the Bill.
§ Mr. MacLAREN
Can we have any estimate of what the capital sum would amount to, the income of which will be sufficient to provide insurance against fire?
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I am afraid I could not give that information. Clearly it would vary very greatly as between church and church. It could only be done by careful investigation on the spot of each particular building, running into hundreds throughout the country. The Clause does not alter the liability. It merely puts it into a definite form.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
The Clause has been on the Paper only since yesterday morning, and it is very complicated. As far as I can see, it covers the view that I and my friends put forward, but I think we must reserve the right to try to get Amendments moved in another place if after careful examination such Amendments appear to be necessary. I should like to know, however, whether there is any right under which a landowner can compound for a lump sum to pay off his liabilities.
§ 11.15 a.m.
§ Brigadier-General CLIFTON BROWN
I think the Clause fairly meets our views except on one point. A tithe-owner may have spent a great deal of money in repairing the chancel. I suppose that that would be taken into account by the Commission, and that he would not be tied down by having an average charge in addition to the amount he had spent, which might have been a matter of hundreds of pounds. Such a charge should be taken into account, and should be considered in any instructions to the Commission upon chancel repairs.
§ Mr. ELLIOT
I can only speak again by the leave of the House. In the first case, it would be possible certainly for a landowner to comopund, and with regard to the second point, obviously 2123 money spent upon putting the chancel into repair would be taken into account when the liability was being fixed.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.