HL Deb 27 July 1960 vol 225 cc868-71

Clause 16, page 15, line 21, leave out ("of the land")

Clause 16, page 15, line 24, at end insert ("or for accepting the surrender of a lease")

Clause 16, page 15, line 29, after ("covenant") insert ("agreement")

Clause 19, page 21, line 16, at end insert ("save that where the Commissioners have by order removed a trustee, charity trustee, officer, agent, or servant of a charity under the power conferred by subsection (1) of this section, an appeal against such an order may be brought by any person so removed without a certificate of the Commissioners and without the leave of one of the judges of the High Court attached to the Chancery Division")

Clause 21, page 23, line 24, at end insert ("and to the value of the fund at the time of the transfers")

Clause 28, page 30, line 24, leave out ("expressly authorised") and insert ("for which general or special authority is expressly given")

Clause 42, page 39, line 20, leave out from second ("be") to end of subsection and insert ("subject to annulment in pursuance of a resolution of either House of Parliament")

First Schedule, page 45, line 16, leave out ("to meet any temporary need")

Page 46, line 8, at end inser— ("4. Legal proceedings may be instituted by or against the Commissioners by the name of the Charity Commissioners for England and Wales, and shall not abate or be affected by any change in the persons who are the Commissioners.")

Third Schedule, page 47, line 23, leave out paragraph 5.

Third Schedule, page 47, line 30, column 2, leave out line 30.

Sixth Schedule, page 51, line 35, column 2, at end insert— ("In this section 'building' includes part of a building.")

Seventh Schedule, page 56, leave out lines 48 to 54.

Page 57, line 43, at end insert—

("10 & 11 Geo. 6. c. 44. The Crown Proceedings Act, 1947. In section twenty three, in subsection (3), paragraph (d) and the word "educational' in paragraph (e).")

Page 61, line 25, at end insert—

"2 Edw. 7. c. 41 The Metropolis Water Act, 1902. Subsection (2) of section one from 'having' on wards.
3 Edw. 7. c. 20. The Patriotic Fund Reorganisation Act, 1903 Subsection (1) of section one from 'and power' on wards.")

Page 61, line 34, at end insert—

("10 & 11 Geo. 5.c. 16. The Imperial War Museum Act, 1920 Subsection (1) of section one from 'and power' on-wards.")

Page 62, line 23, column 23, at end insert ("in the First Schedule, paragraph 2, from 'and power' onwards")

Page 62, line 24, at end insert—

("9 & 10 Geo. 6. c. 46. The Police Act, 1946. Subsection (1) of section five from 'and with' on-wards.")

Page 62, line 30, column 3, at end insert ("subsection (4) of section twenty-five".)

Page 63, line 16, at end insert—

("14 & 15 Geo. 6. c. 53. The Midwives Act, 1951. In the First Schedule, paragraph 5 from 'and power' onwards.")

Page 63, line 23, at end insert—

("2 &3 Eliz. 2. c. 55. The Television Act, 1954. In the First Schedule, paragraph 1 from 'and power' onwards.
4 & 5 Eliz. 2. c. 48. The Sugar Act, 1956. In the Second Schedule, paragraph 1 from 'and power' on wards.")

Page 62, line 25, at end insert—

("5 & 6 Eliz. 2. c. 15. The Nurses Act, 1957. In the First Schedule, paragraph 8 from 'and power' onwards.")

Page 64, line 53, at end insert—

("8 & 9 Eliz. 2. No. 1. The Church Property (Miscellaneous Pro visions) Measure, 1960. Section twenty three.")


My Lords, I now beg to move that the House doth agree with the Commons in the remaining Amendments, Nos. 9 to 31, which are drafting and clarifying Amendments. A number of them refer to mortmain appeals and I should just like to say one word on Amendment No. 12, because that gives an appeal as of right to the High Court Ito any person removed by the Commissioners under subsection (1) of Clause 19. If my memory is right, that was a point about which my noble friend Lord Saltoun was concerned during the Committee stage.

I should like to say only one other thing, which really arises under the more general remarks of my noble friend Lord Saltoun on the last Amendment. I wish to make a brief statement on behalf of Her Majesty's Government with regard to the Charity Commissioners, especially in view of what my noble friend has said. It has been said—indeed, it was repeated at the conclusion of the proceedings in another place—that uneasiness is still felt lest the independence of the Charity Commissioners is somehow being impaired because they are to be appointed by the Home Secretary and can be removed by him; and that through them the Government will be able to bring pressure to bear on charity.

In both Houses Her Majesty's Government have sought to bring out that this is not so. The Home Secretary will appoint the Commissioners to carry out their statutory functions. The Chief Commissioner, aided by his colleagues, will be responsible to him, as the head of any other public department is responsible to his Minister; and, of course, the Minister is, in turn, responsible to Parliament for the efficient conduct of the public service. But the Bill gives no power whatever to the Home Secretary to give to the Commissioners any directions or to influence their decision in an individual ease. The discretion they will exercise is their own and it is subject to review, not by any Minister but by the courts.

It is often said that we have accepted this from this Home Secretary because he has undertaken that he will not do anything and, anyway, we do not think he would. But I do not feel that that is a material objection here, because both the larger political Parties have expressed their desire that charities should be insulated from political pressure. We think that in law the Bill does this effectively; and, in view of what has been said on both sides of both Houses, it is really unthinkable under our system of government that a Home Secretary, of whatever Party, would attempt by some extra-statutory means to influence the Commissioners in the exercise of their discretion by threats of dismissal or other pressure.

The Commissioners have been placed by Clause 1 (4) under an express statutory duty to act in the case of any charity so as best to promote and make effective its work in meeting the needs designated by its trust, and this serves to preclude their being activated by other considerations. What a future Government will do by legislation is something we cannot control. But it would have to be done by legislation, and not by action behind the scenes. I wanted to make that quite clear because I know that a certain amount of uneasiness has been felt, and I think that my statement should do the utmost that can be done to dispel it. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendments.—(The Lord Chancellor.)


My Lords, I am very grateful to the noble and learned Viscount for Ills explanation. I am bound to say that I am very much reassured by it. I hope that the four noble Lords opposite will not cross the House to scratch my eyes out if I say that the new position of the Charity Commissioners seems precisely analogous to that of the old relieving officer when I worked alongside him. If I remember aright, he could not be given any directions by the Minister of Health and his removal was a major proposition. That seems to me to be a considerable safeguard.

On Question, Motion agreed to.