HL Deb 27 June 1940 vol 116 cc714-5

Clause 10, page 9, line 41, at end insert: ("(b) as respects any county borough, or any non-county borough or urban district which has according to the last published census for the time being a population of fifteen thousand or upwards, be the council of the borough or urban district.")


My Lords, I think this is the only Amendment of any substance at all. In previous discussions there was a question raised as to the size of the authority. In the Second Reading debate in the House of Commons it was pointed out that under the Act of 1916, all borough and urban district councils were registration authorities, but the Charity Commissioners found that some of the large number of registration authorities thus created—and especially those in some of the smaller areas—were inactive. When charities for the blind were dealt with by the Blind Persons Act, 1920, only the county and county borough councils were made registration authorities. The same course was adopted in the present Bill, but a strong plea was made both on the Second Reading and in the subsequent discussion for the inclusion of borough and urban district councils, on the ground that in the towns the local councils are much better qualified to deal with the local charities than the county councils which are often remote and distant bodies. It must, however, be remembered that this is not merely a question of allowing local councils to look after local affairs. Registration is effective for appeals in any part of the country and one slack registration authority might afford an opening for numerous undeserving appeals on a national basis. Moreover, the admission of all borough and urban district councils would increase the number of registration authorities from 147 to 1,029, which would, of course, greatly increase the burden of work thrown on the Charity Commissioners as well as the chance of some authorities being slack in the enforcement of the Act.

In the discussion which was held with the representatives of the borough and urban district councils, it was agreed that the best course would be to admit the councils of the larger boroughs and urban districts, and it was proposed to make the limit a population of 15,000, which would have the effect of increasing the number of registration authorities to 484—still a very large but not an unreasonable number. It remains open to a county council to delegate the duties of registration to other borough and district councils by virtue of the general power which was conferred by Section 274 of the Local Government Act, 1933. This compromise was discussed in another place and the general feeling was that it met most of the criticisms which had been previously advanced. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Amendment.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(Lord Croft.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.