§ 3.34 p.m.
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, the Bill which I invite the House to read for a second time to-day has as its background the Report of the Committee presided over by the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, a Committee which investigated the law and practice relating to charitable trusts. If I may say so in the presence of the noble Lord, that was a most remarkable Report, and I think that all who are in any way concerned with the many matters dealt with in that Report will feel grateful to him and to his colleagues.
The subject matter of this Bill is very technical and, I am afraid, somewhat dry. I must do my best to explain it to your Lordships. I know from the list of speakers which has been handed to me that few of your Lordships feel inclined to embark upon the troubled waves of this matter. Following upon—indeed coincidental with—the publication of the noble Lord's Report, the Government made a statement in which they announced their intention of accepting broadly the recommendations in Chapter 12 of the Report, a chapter which deals with what were called imperfect trust provisions. Let me explain, in a word, what that means. By "imperfect trust," an expression coined for this purpose, is meant a trust under which the income may he applied either for charitable or for non-charitable purposes. The purpose of this Bill is to validate in certain respects, and subject to certain qualifications and savings, those imperfect trust provisions. I think it will be proper, in order that your Lordships may not be left completely in the dark, that I should say a few introductory words upon this rather technical subject.
The first point that may occur to your Lordships is to wonder what is wrong with a trust which provides partly for charitable and partly for non-charitable objects. The reasons are these. Under our law, one cannot create a trust which is to be operated for more than a certain period. The policy of the law is against the creation of what is called technically a perpetuity—that is to say, the holding up of the capital of a trust for more than 279 a limited period, a period I can roughly describe as that of the lives in being and twenty-one years thereafter. So, if one attempts to settle one's income on a trust which exceeds that period, one is infringing the rule against perpetuities and the provision is void. But that is not so, and never has been so, in regard to a charitable trust. A charitable trust may be constituted for countless generations. So it is that there are many charitable trusts to-day that have persisted through centuries, not infringing the rule against perpetuities.
The second aspect (I hope that I am not being too didactic to your Lordships in this matter, but I think it is important to understand why we ask for this Bill) is that while the law forbids a man to make a will disposing of his property upon what trust he likes, yet he must make his own will. He cannot leave it to another to make it. He must make it in precise and certain terms. For, if he does not, he will leave it to others, his executors, to operate it, not as he willed it but as they think fit. Accordingly, unless a man defines his trust with sufficient precision, it will be void for uncertainty. But that is not the case with a charitable trust, so that if the charitable intention is clear, it does not matter if the purposes are undefined. For the court, as it has said, will execute the trust by settling a scheme for the administration of the charity. Therefore my second point is that whereas an ordinary non-charitable trust may fail for uncertainty, a charitable trust will not fail for uncertainty.
The third aspect of the matter, which has assumed great importance in modern times, distinguishing charitable from non-charitable trusts, is this: that in respect of the income of a charitable trust income tax is not exigible. So we find this important distinction, a matter which often comes before the courts, of a particular institution claiming that its purpose is charitable, in order that tax may not be exigible, while the Inland Revenue claim that it is not charitable and that tax is exigible. It happened—and it was a somewhat strange accident—that in 1949 two cases came before the Law Courts in which the trusts under consideration, though claimed by the institutions concerned to be charitable, were held to be not charitable, for the reason that the 280 purposes of the trusts were both charitable and non-charitable, and so mixed up that they could not be distinguished the one from the other. In those circumstances, the court, following precedents which were, indeed, centuries old, held that the trusts were void because they infringed the rule against perpetuity. That covered a wide range of trusts which had unfortunately grown up as a result partly of a model deed which had found its place in a volume of precedents. Accordingly, the Nathan Committee, if I may refer to them somewhat colloquially in that way, recommended, and Her Majesty's Government thought fit to accept, that those trusts should, subject, as I say, to certain qualifications, be validated.
Imperfect trusts may take one of two forms combining the charitable with the non-charitable. It may be in some such words as these, "The trust may be for charitable or other objects." In that case, it is quite clear that the "other objects" are not charitable objects. There you get exactly the case, and the decisions of the court are centuries old, that the trust is invalid. But there is a more subtle case than that. There is the case where the object itself is described in language which admits either of a charitable or a non-charitable purpose—for instance, a gift for parochial purposes. I need not go into the intricacies of the law, but it is clear that some so-called parochial purposes are charitable and some so-called parochial purposes are not charitable. Accordingly, it is clear, on long authority, that that trust is invalid, because the charitable is mixed with the non-charitable. That is just the type of case which it is intended to validate by this Bill.
With that preface, which I hope has not been too long, let me take your Lordships to the Bill itself. The Bill first describes "imperfect trust provision"; and it describes it substantially in the language which I have been using, as meaningany provision declaring the objects for which property is to be held or applied, and so describing those objects that, consistently with the terms of the provision, the property could be used exclusively for charitable purposes, but could also be used for purposes which are not charitable.That is a clear definition of the imperfect trust provision with which we are dealing in this Bill. What do we propose to do 281 with that? We propose making a clear-cut division as at the date when the Nathan Report was published and the Government statement made—namely, December 16, 1952. What we propose is that, as the result of this Bill, as respects the period before the commencement of the Act the trust is to be treated as if the whole of the declared objects were charitable. Your Lordships will see the result of that. The result is that the trustees, having been treated as having disposed of the whole of the income for charitable purposes, are not liable to be attacked for anything they have done. In effect, they are franked for anything they have done in the past. What do we do as to the future? As to the future, we separate the charitable from the non-charitable and provide for the trust to be treatedas respects the period after that commencement as if the provision had required the property to be held or applied for the declared objects in so far only as they authorise use for charitable purposes.I must go back for one moment, because I see that I made a small error. The date for division is not December 16, 1952, but the date when the Act comes into force. That is what the Act does.
The next question is: To what dispositions is the Act to apply? It is only an innocent and inexperienced person—I think I might say a rather foolish person—who would say that this is capable of simple drafting, because there is an infinite complexity here in the kind of instruments by which charitable trusts are created, and, indeed, in the terms of these instruments. It may be the simplest of all settlements or wills by which the property is left on trust for charitable and non-charitable objects. But it may be an instrument in which there are first life interests, and then gifts for such purposes. It may not be an instrument in the ordinary sense at all, but an appeal. It may be a form of charity which is constituted by no other writing than the words on a collection box. It may be that it is created by means of covenants, and so on. The language of this Bill is so drafted as to try and cover all those sorts of dispositions.
Having said what we propose to do, I would ask your Lordships to consider what are the dispositions to which the Act is to apply. As the simplest way of 282 doing that, I will read the provisions of Clause 2 (1). That says:Subject to the next following subsection, this Act applies to any disposition of property to be held or applied for objects declared by an imperfect trust provision, and to any covenant to make such a disposition, where apart from this Act the disposition or covenant is invalid under the law of England and Wales, but would be valid if the objects were exclusively charitable.That defines the nature of the disposition. Subsection (2) of this clause is of great importance. It says:This Act does not apply to a disposition or covenant which before the sixteenth day of December, nineteen hundred and fifty-two, has been treated as invalid on the ground that the objects are not exclusively charitable.…As your Lordships, will appreciate, it is obviously necessary to save from this general validation dispositions which had been, quite rightly as the law stood, treated as invalid; end accordingly they are excluded from the operation of the Act. I am quite prepared to hear some criticism of the words "treated as invalid ". I can only say that the accomplished draftsman of the Bill has tried hard—and I myself have tried—to find some comprehensive words which would cover all that we mean, but we have not found it possible to do more than use rather general words which it will be left to the courts to interpret. It is quite clear that, where there have been proceedings before the court and a judgment declaring the trust invalid, in that case it has been treated as invalid. But there are many other cases that will occur to your Lordships where, equally, the trust has been treated as invalid—where, for instance, the trustees, upon advice, have proceeded to the distribution of the trust income upon the footing that it is invalid. If the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, who I know takes a great interest in this matter, can find more appropriate words between now and the Committee stage, we shall be glad to consider them. Subsection (2) of Clause 2 goes on to say:but this subsection shall not be taken as excluding the application of this Act to any disposition or covenant by reason only of the fact that, for purposes of taxation or for the purposes of any enactment, the objects have been treated (whether in consequence of legal proceedings or otherwise) as not being exclusively charitable.Those words mean this. While it is quite right that, if a disposition has been treated as invalid generally, it should not get the benefit of this Act, it would seem rather 283 hard if the trustees have been subjected to taxation, upon the contention of the Inland Revenue that the trust is not a charitable one, but have otherwise maintained that it is a charitable one and have distributed the income accordingly. So there is an exception within an exception. If the disposition has been treated as invalid for taxation purposes only, that is not to affect the operation of the Act.
Clause 3 of the Bill is also an important one, because it provides for saving the rights of beneficiaries under a settlement which they might want to challenge. In effect, it provides a saving for the rights of persons who may have a claim to property which is the subject of an imperfect trust provision on the ground of its invalidity. But those saving rights are limited. To take advantage of the saving provision, the person must show that his right accrued on a date not more than six years before December 16, 1952—that is the date of the publication of the Report and of the Government statement. Further, not only must the right have accrued not more than six years before that date, but it must be asserted within one year after the passing of the Bill or within one year after the right first accrued to the claimant or to some person through whom he claims, whichever is the later. Your Lordships see that there are no savings but qualified savings, and it appears to Her Majesty's Government that that maintains a proper compromise between those who would benefit by the declared invalidity of the provision and those who wished to assert that in all circumstances the provision should be a valid one.
Now, as is always the case when you have a saving of rights, the question arises in regard to those who are not in a position at once to assert their rights, either because they are under a disability or because there are prior interests and so on. Without going into any technicalities, I think all I need say to your Lordships is that the succeeding parts of Clause 3 deal with just that aspect of the case—namely, the extension of a further period of claim to those who rest under a disability and, therefore, are not in a position at once to assert their claim. I ought to say this further in regard to the saving of rights to beneficiaries. We wish to put the trustees into as favourable a position 284 as possible, and so the Bill provides that in regard to trustees they may proceed upon the footing that the trusts are valid unless and until they receive an express notice of claim. Your Lordships see how important that is for the due administration of trusts. I have heard already, and I expect I shall hear again from the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, some criticism of the extension of time which is given to those under disability, and naturally everything that the noble Lord has to say about this very complex subject will receive our earnest and sympathetic consideration. But as at present advised, our view is that it is proper in this case, as in other cases where any sort of statutory limitation is imposed, to give to those who are under a disability an extended time to make their claim.
I think I need say nothing more about Clause 3, though there are many aspects of detail which may be referred to upon the Committee stage of the Bill. I would ask your Lordships to look at Clause 4 which first of all provides that the Act is not to apply for the purpose of any legal proceedings begun before December 16, 1952. I call special attention to that, because I had a communication from a well-known and distinguished firm of solicitors who were concerned with this matter and who seemed to have overlooked that provision. Nothing which this Bill does will affect proceedings which were commenced before December 16, 1952. More than that, the second subsection of Clause 4 provides that where legal proceedings have been commenced between December 16, 1952, and the passing of the Bill—that is to say, where proceedings have really been started in order to forestall the provisions of this Bill—it shall be open to the people who have been prejudiced by any order made in such proceedings to apply to the court to have the matter reinstated in the position it would be in if no such proceedings had been taken. Subsection (3) of Clause 4 deals with the taxation situation. Your Lordships will see that this Bill may easily give rise to a number of difficulties in regard to taxation. Broadly, the position which is assumed by the Bill is that where tax has been paid it will not be repaid (I am speaking now of trust provisions that are validated by this Bill), and where it has not been paid it will not be demanded. It is impossible, I think, to have anything except a rough and ready 285 division of that kind in regard to this matter.
Clause 5 gives necessary powers to the Government in Northern Ireland to make laws for purposes similar to the purposes of this Act. That provision is necessary, because this Bill affects taxation, which is a reserved matter, and the Act binds the Crown if it is necessary. Your Lordships will have the usual intimation in due course, otherwise there might be a claim tobona vacantia. I have attempted, at, I hope, not too great length, to put this difficult Bill before your Lordships, and submit it accordingly for Second Reading.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read 2ª.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ 3.58 p.m.
§ LORD NATHAN
My Lords, noble Lords on these Benches support this Bill as a useful and necessary measure to meet a need that has been clearly disclosed. Having said that on behalf of my noble friends on these Benches, I address myself to your Lordships in a personal capacity as Chairman of the Committee out of whose report this Bill emerges. Let me say at once how much I appreciate the kind and agreeable words spoken by the Lord Chancellor about the work of my Committee, which not only are acceptable to myself but will also he most agreeably heard by my colleagues of the Committee. Her Majesty's Government were prompt in acting upon the suggestions made in this respect by my Committee, and it was necessary that that should be so because the Report disclosed a situation of peril for trustees unless steps were taken to safeguard their position. It was for that reason that, simultaneously with the presentation of the Report to Parliament, the Prime Minister in another place and the noble and learned Lord sitting on the Woolsack in this House made a statement on behalf of the Government. I am prompted to ask, incidentally, whether the Lord Chancellor is in a position to make any statement as regards the Government's intentions respecting the Report generally whether, for instance, there is likely to be a policy White Paper, and if so when. I hope the Lord Chancellor may he able to give sonic reassuring answer, for I have had a number of inquiries made of me and I know there is a widespread and manifest anxiety to know how matters are moving and when something is likely to happen. 286 I know it cannot be this Session but I am hopeful that it may be next Session.
While the Bill gives effect to the substance of our recommendations—though as regards the older defective trusts it is slightly different—my view is that its proposals are somewhat more simple and more effective than those adumbrated by my Committee. For that reason I welcome the Bill and regard it with more than ordinary cordiality. Indeed, I subscribe to what the noble and learned Lord on the Woolsack has said as to the apparent simplicity but intrinsic complexity of the problem with which the draftsman was confronted. I am full of admiration for the way in which the Bill has been prepared, and any comments which I have to make upon it will not in the least derogate from my wholehearted admiration of the skill shown in preparing the Bill on this very complex matter.
The Lord Chancellor, as might be ex-peeled, has given a most lucid and comprehensive, though none too long, statement as to the law applicable to this difficult problem and the provisions, by no means simple, of this Bill. There is one point on which I might add an addendum by way of explanation. As the Lord Chancellor has said, the matter in question arose in two cases in the course of the same year, 1949. It arose in the first instance in the case of the Oxford Group. The Oxford Group was registered in the form of a charity incorporated under what is now Section 19 of the Companies Act, 1948. The purposes and objects of the Oxford Group, as set out in its memorandum of association, were held by the court to be some of them charitable and others of them non-charitable, with the result that the Oxford Group was held not to be entitled as a charity exemption from income tax. It was open, however, to the Oxford Group, as a company incorporated under the Companies Act, to change its objects clause—to alter, that is, its memorandum of association—so as to put this right and qualify itself for the future for exemption from income tax as a charity. This it proceeded to do. But Parliament also intervened in the matter, and by Section 37, I think it was, of the Finance Act, 1950, it was prescribed that this alteration, when made by any charity so incorporated, should have not merely effect for the future but also 287 retroactive effect. That was a considerable concession to those charities incorporated under the Companies Act.
The problem with which my Committee was confronted was how to apply, with equity to all concerned, the same principle to charities that were not incorporated under the Companies Act—in other words charities created either by will or by gifts inter vivos. It was not a simple problem because, whereas when you are dealing with a company the company has nobody but itself to think of in the sense that any steps it thinks right to take do not affect the right of others, in the case of an invalid trust created by will or by deed, the trust cannot be put right at all (except in the very rare instance where provision to that effect exists in the will or deed) and immediately the rights of third parties, the next of kin, the donors to a charity or whoever it may be that provided the funds, come into play.
The real object of this Bill is to do the best that can be done to place non-incorporated charities in the same position as that in which incorporated charities now stand, whilst at the same time having due regard to the rights of third parties who are brought into the picture by reason of the invalidity of the trust because it is both charitable and non-charitable. The difficulties which have been shown to exist gave rise to this problem of the Oxford Group and what is known as the Ellis case, both in 1949, and it is pretty clear that from the practical standpoint there are obvious advantages in future, generally speaking, in the incorporation of charities under the appropriate provisions of the Companies Act, 1949, Section 19, rather than by will or deed. It cannot always be done, for it is not applicable to all occasions; but I think as a general rule it would be better, because then the worst that can happen for a company is that it may lose its income tax, but that can be put right for the future by an alteration of its memorandum of association; whereas, in a trust created by will or by deed, nothing can be done except with the assistance of Parliament, as by this present Bill.
I was greatly interested to hear the Lord Chancellor say, and much indebted to him for saying it, that this Bill covers the case not only where there is a clearly 288 defined charitable accompanied by a non-charitable purpose, but where there is a single purpose which may be operated in either a charitable or a non-charitable fashion. I think that that will bring great relief to the mass of many Church of England charities and even more, perhaps, to Roman Catholic charities, both of which types of charity are greatly affected by this Bill and the problems which it is designed to meet. I am delighted that the Lord Chancellor feels that the Bill covers that point, because it allows me to move away from a suggestion which we made in our Report, rather against our will—it sounds odd—as to validating trusts which had been operated as if they were charities but which had no charitable object. We felt ourselves constrained to make that suggestion, odd though we thought it then and odd though it sounds now, because we did not feel certain that a trust object defined as a single object could be divided into a trust which could be operated for charitable purposes only and that one could disregard any non-charitable application of that trust.
There is one point to which the Lord Chancellor did not refer. It is a relatively trifling point but perhaps it is worth mentioning. That is the case of the trust valid as charitable when it begins, but afterwards held to be non-charitable. I think the most striking instance is the case of anti-vivisection, which seems to have been charitable in 1895 but had ceased to be so by 1947. There are two cases bearing upon that subject. I ask the Lord Chancellor whether he thinks it possible to arrange that a trust if once charitable should be preserved for charity on something like thecy-près principle.
I have one word to say—as indeed the Lord Chancellor showed quite clearly that he anticipated—on the question of savings in favour of those under disability. I fully realise the importance of savings in favour of persons such as infants who are under the disability of infancy until they attain their majority, and, in the ordinary way, I doubt whether I should wish to do anything which would limit the period during which they might assert their rights. But it seems to me that this is rather a special case—not that hard cases make good law—because the object of this Bill is not so much to secure that something shall accrue to beneficiaries as 289 to preserve for charity what was intended for charity, and to prevent uncertainty from prevailing beyond the narrowest limits of time. So narrow, indeed, are the limits of time provided by the Bill in general that, if a claim is not made within a period of twelve months, then the trust is valid and the rights of the claimant are for ever thereafter extinguished. But, in the case of an infant, to take the most obvious example, the period of uncertainty does not come to an end with the lapse of a year. If there should be, for instance, one of these imperfect trust provisions where the infant ultimately entitled as a beneficiary in the event of invalidity is now, say, a week old, the trustees would have to wait twenty-two years, and so would the charitable beneficiaries, before knowing whether the trust should be validated as a charitable trust or not. That seems to me to be too long, in the circumstances of that case.
If, perchance, someone on behalf of such an infant were to give notice now to the trustees of such a claim, then under the scheme of the Bill I imagine that the trustees, having thus been affected by express notice of an adverse claim, would have to close the trust down until it was ultimately decided by the courts whether or not it was valid twenty-one or twenty-two years hence. That seems to me too long a period, arid scarcely in line with the idea underlying the Bill or the general scheme of the Bill. I would urge the Lord Chancellor to consider most carefully whether infants should not he left to the remedy which they have of suing, for instance, by their "next friend," so that finality might be reached within a limited period, within say the year prescribed by the Bill for the ordinary claimant. I think there is some statutory precedent to be found for such an arrangement. I refer the Lord Chancellor to the Fatal Accidents Act, 1846, Section 3, and to the Copyright Act, 1911, Section 10. They are not altogether in like case—I would not suggest that they are—but there is perhaps a precedent to be found there for telescoping the period during which claims may he made. That seems to me to be infinitely desirable in the present instance.
I am not going to trouble your Lordships with an expression of my opinion or suggest to-day my modifications of the, phrase used in the Bill to which the Lord 290 Chancellor has referred—trust provisions which have been "treated as invalid." It is not a term of art and it may very well give rise to difficulties and litigation. But the Lord Chancellor has challenged me to try to provide a better phrase. I will be frank with your Lordships and say that I have already tried, and found myself unable to devise a phrase which seemed at once sufficiently precise and sufficiently comprehensible. That does not mean that it may not be possible for the highly skilled Parliamentary draftsman in the light of this discussion to find some other phrase. If something could be found which lacked the imprecision of the present phrase, I think it would be all to the good; but I must candidly confess that I have found myself unable to make any positive contribution to the solution of this particular problem though, like the Lord Chancellor—I think, like the Lord Chancellor—I see the problem.
That is all I have to say about this Bill. Naturally, in the light of what if have said, your Lordships will realise that I commend it to your Lordships' favourable consideration. My noble friends, like myself, will support the Second Reading. I think this is a useful measure to get upon the Statute Book in order to relieve the anxieties of many trustees, charitable beneficiaries and, for all I know, third parties in many parts of the country, in a matter of great concern to all charitable endowments.
§ 4.19 p.m.
THE LORD BISHOP OF NORWICH
My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, looked at me as he said that this Bill would affect a great many Church of England charities, and the Lord Chancellor spoke of "parochial purposes" as being a very frequent phrase in connection with these charities. I rise only to say that I have authority to state in this House that the Church Commissioners, who are, as your Lordships know, the body charged with a great deal of the care of the property of the Church of England, including, of course, a general oversight of such matters as are comprehended in this measure, have examined the contents of this Bill with great care, from the point of view of parochial purposes arid parochial charities, and are entirely satisfied with the provisions included in the measure.
§ 4.20 p.m.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I must say at once how grateful I am to the noble Lord, Lord Nathan for the way in which he has received this Bill. I am the more grateful because I know, if he will allow me to be personal, that he has come at great personal inconvenience to himself to take part in this debate. It was a gracious and a rather gallant act on his part. The first question that the noble Lord asked me was what the Government proposed to do about the rest of his Report, and he asked me specifically whether and when there would be a White Paper. I will meet him halfway. I will tell him that, so far as I know, there certainly will be a White Paper: but I will not commit myself in regard to when. This is a most complex matter which is under investigation. I can assure him that it is under constant investigation, and we have made considerable progress. It would not be right for me to commit myself exactly in regard to when the White Paper will be published. I want to correct one thing that I said about Clause 4 (1) of the Bill. I referred to a communication that I have received. I think perhaps that I misread it, and did not do justice to the writers of it. All I want to say is that I will again look into the matter referred to in that communication.
The noble Lord, Lord Nathan, has made some criticism of the matter to which I myself referred, the limitation of time for claims made by those under disability, such as infants. I think that the noble Lord has rather forgotten one aspect of this case. This is retrospective legislation of a most unusual kind, validating trusts which at present are in law invalid, validating them for the benefit of charity and to the prejudice of the persons who are in law now entitled to them. I do not think one ought to go too far when one is doing that: and accordingly, when persons are under disability, I think that they ought to have the full time which is normally allowed to such persons in order to assert or to withdraw their claims. That is more particularly so when we consider that this is not really a case where the law is in doubt, but a case where the persons who are really entitled are to have the option of saying whether or not they will assert their claims. It is my present view, although I am open to 292 further consideration and perhaps even to conviction, that that is something which ought to be done by the person under disability—infant, as it may be—on his own behalf, and not by somebody on his behalf. Therefore I still venture to think that where you have an infant who is entitled under the law as it stands to assert his rights and say, "This is an invalid provision and I am entitled to this trust property," it should be left to him to say it when he is of age, and not for anybody else to say it now on his behalf. That is my present view, but, as I say, I am quite open to consider it further.
Then the noble Lord asked me a very difficult question, to which I do not propose to give a final answer at present; that is, the very unusual case where a particular trust has at a certain period been held to be valid, and then, subsequently, the question coming before the courts again, not that trust but a similar trust is held to be invalid—that was the case of the Anti-Vivisection Trust. Some fifty years ago it was held that a trust for anti-vivisection was a valid charitable trust, but in a case which came before this House some few years ago, in which I am glad to say I had the privilege of reading the leading judgment, it was held not to be a charitable trust. What exactly is to be done in such a case as that, in regard to a trust which has once been held to be charitable, is a puzzle which I should like further to consider. The noble Lord has the satisfaction of knowing that he has given me a rather difficult task. However, we will consider that. It is a very small point, and I think one which must be of the rarest possible occurrence. Subject to that I think that I have dealt with the points which the noble Lord has raised. Once more I would thank him and the right reverend Prelate for the reception which this Bill has received. Of course there are points which we may still consider on the Committee stage.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
My Lords, I rise only for one purpose: to congratulate Lord Nathan, and to thank him for the great amount of trouble that he has taken in connection with this matter for several years past, and for the admirable recommendations that have been made by his Committee, which in some small respect 293 are being implemented in this Bill. I rise to say this because, as a former president of the National Council of Social Service and a present-day member of its executive committee, so far as this Bill affects the work of the Council I may say on their behalf that we are entirely in sympathy with him.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My Lords, I am sorry to have risen before the noble Viscount. I did not realise that he wished to speak.
§ On Question, Bill read 2ª, and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.