HC Deb 20 October 1976 vol 917 cc1445-6
40. Mr. Whitehead

asked the hon. Member for Kingswood, representing the Church Commissioners, when a second Parochial Fees Order, outlining proposed changes in the calculations and sale of search fees for the parish registers, will be laid before the House.

Mr. Terry Walker

The Commissioners have not taken any decision concerning the promotion of a further Parochial Fees Order dealing with fees for searches in church registers. Any such Order would have to be approved by the General Synod before it could be laid before Parliament, and any such move is likely to be related to the progress that is made with the Parochial Records and Registers Measure, currently under consideration by the General Synod.

Mr. Whitehead

Has my hon. Friend seen the prolonged correspondence in The Times putting forward grave reservations about any increase in the scale of charges for parochial fees? Before any such scale went through the General Synod and was laid before this House as an Order—and it would be strongly opposed—would he receive a deputation of those concerned?

Mr. Walker

I have had many representations from hon. Members with regard to the present Parochial Fees Order. If my hon. Friend put those who are most concerned in touch with me, I shall be pleased to receive a deputation and the Secretary-General of the General Synod will co-operate all he can.

Mr. Wells

Will the hon. Member give a categorical assurance that county historical societies will be fully consulted before any measure is brought forward? The societies have very great fears.

Mr. Walker

The stage for that consultation is before the actual decisions are made by the General Synod. I shall be pleased to receive those representations now in order that we may discuss the matter fully before it comes to the General Synod.

Mr. Hugh Jenkins

Is my hon. Friend aware that the local historians in Putney and elsewhere in the country will be delighted with his answer?