§ 3.21 p.m.
§ THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. EDMUNDSBURY AND IPSWICH moved, That in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Benefice Buildings (Postponement of Inspections and Repayment of Loans) Measure, 1940, be presented to His Majesty for the Royal Assent. The right reverend Prelate said: My Lords, this is an emergency Measure, dealing mainly with two matters which arise out of war conditions. Your Lordships, or many of you, may be aware that the law is that the parsonage house and buildings belonging to every benefice shall be inspected every five years and the necessary repairs done, the money to pay for these repairs being in the hands of Queen Anne's Bounty as a result of annual payments previously made by the incumbent. Under present conditions there are, or may be, some benefices which it is not possible to inspect, and there may be benefice buildings on which, when they have been inspected, it may be impossible to execute the repairs. In these circumstances the Measure allows the Diocesan Dilapidations Board to postpone, until such time as may be found necessary, the making of the inspection and the doing of the repairs.
§ If the matter rested there, however, there would be no legal means of securing 989 the money from the incumbent year by year which is necessary in order that there may grow up a sufficient sum to do the repairs which ought to be done and must be done eventually. The Measure which I am moving provides that Queen Anne's Bounty shall be empowered to collect annually from the incumbent the sum which was settled by the previous assessment until such time as the matter may be properly dealt with by a fresh survey to determine the money, the repairs and a new assessment. The other main matter concerns damage which may be done to property belonging to a benefice consequent on enemy action or through the war. It is always within the powers of Queen Anne's Bounty to lend money to incumbents for the repair of any damage to a benefice building, but it can only do so on certain conditions: that is, that the capital sum so lent be repaid in equal annual instalments spread over a period of ten, fifteen or twenty years, and that in the meantime interest at a given rate be paid on whatever amount is outstanding. It will be obvious, I think, to your Lordships that it would be extremely hard, if serious damage were done to benefice buildings by enemy action, to expect the incumbent to repay year by year in that way. This Measure empowers Queen Anne's Bounty to lend the money and to postpone until such time as they may determine—that means, of course, after the war is ended—the repayment of any capital sum or the repayment of interest until the whole matter can be settled in an equitable way. I beg to move.
§ Moved, That in accordance with the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, this House do direct that the Benefice Buildings (Postponement of Inspections and Repayment of Loans) Measure, 1940, be presented to His Majesty for the Royal Assent.—(The Lord Bishop of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.