HC Deb 15 March 1955 vol 538 cc1124-5
50. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Prime Minister whether he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to inquire into the number, variety and present purpose of charitable and relief funds which have been raised by public subscription since 1914, to inquire into what steps should be taken to ensure that their remaining moneys are still required for their original purposes, and how far it is necessary or desirable to establish arrangements for periodic review and, if necessary, liquidation.

The Prime Minister

I am not aware of any special need or general demand for the setting up of such a Royal Commission. I am against Royal Commissions on the whole, at any rate more than the usual proportion. The Committee on the law and practice relating to Charitable Trusts, under the chairmanship of Lord Nathan, covered trust funds. The Government is still considering its general action on the recommendations of the Committee, having dealt with one point concerning imperfect trust instruments in the Charitable Trusts (Validation) Act, 1954. If the right hon. Gentleman has any specific information on the matter he has raised and conveys it to me, I will be glad to look into it.

Mr. Woodburn

While thanking the Prime Minister for that reply and while understanding his point of view about Royal Commissions, is he not aware that there is a little concern about the number of offices scattered all over the place which seem to be dealing with charitable funds which have been gathered for disasters and other matters long since past, and while these people are quite content naturally to remain in office without any fuss which might have the effect of removing them, does it not seem a great waste of manpower and a great multiplication of activity on which there might be some economy?

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir, I will see that further examination is made of it by the Government.