HC Deb 05 May 1938 vol 335 c1029
69. Mr. Hopkin

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been called to the great dissatisfaction of the members of the West Wales Law Society who have recently ceased to act as tithe collectors; whether he is aware that, although these members collected considerable sums and had acquired valuable experience, the collection has gone mainly to one firm; and whether, in view of the pledge given on 26th June, 1936, in this House by the then Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, he will say how he reconciles the present procedure with the pledge then given?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

The undertaking given in the course of Debates on the Tithe Bill, 1936, as to the employment by the Tithe Redemption Commission of collectors of tithe rentcharge has been duly honoured. All the 120 firms appointed by the Commission had considerable experience in the collection of tithe rent-charge. A certain measure of concentration was inevitable but only firms who had collected relatively small amounts of tithe rentcharge were excluded. It was never contemplated that every person engaged in tithe collection would be reappointed.

Mr. Hopkin

Is the Financial Secretary aware that in one county alone people who formerly collected from £600 to £1,250 per annum have been excluded? Was not a definite pledge given in the House, and has not that pledge been broken?

Lieut.-Colonel Colville

I was careful to read up the relevant passage in the Debate, and it was promised to utilise, as far as possible, those who have experience in collection. I have shown that 120 firms who have previous experience are being employed. It would not be possible to employ every one.

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