HC Deb 09 July 1941 vol 373 cc194-6W
Sir H. Morris-Jones

asked the Home Secretary, what are the present functions of the Welsh Church Commission; what are the administrative costs of running the department per annum; what salary and expenses are drawn by the Commissioners; and whether, in view of the taking over of tithe rents by the State, he will consider the advisability of winding it up or, alternatively, review its present composition in the light of its present work.

Mr. H. Morrison

The present functions of the Welsh Church Commission are those laid down in the Welsh Church Acts, 1914 and 1919. and include the following:

  1. (i) The management of the landed estates and minerals vested in them. The landed property which had previously belonged to Cathedral and Capitular Establishments has been transferred to the University of Wales, but no transfer has yet been, nor can be, made of landed property previously belonging to parochial benefices, nor has any transfer of minerals taken place.
  2. (ii) The allocation and apportionment of all receipts and payments both of capital and revenue, since the date of disestablishment in 1920, between the 18 beneficiaries entitled to receive them under the Welsh Church Acts.
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  4. (iii) The valuation of all landed estates and minerals as at the 29th September, 1939, the date from which all such property is nationally transferable.
  5. (iv) The estimates of value under the Coal Act, 1938, leading up to the determination of the compensation to be paid to the Commissioners as royalty owners.
  6. (v) The determination and calculation of Redemption Stock as compensation for the extinguishment of tithe under the Tithe Act, 1936, with a view to agreement with the Tithe Redemption Commission.
  7. (vi) The Redemption of charges both payable and receivable on title previously in the hands of lay impropriators.
  8. (vii) The transfer by Order to the Bodies entitled to receive them of Churches, Burial Grounds and ecclesiastical residences.

The estimate of establishment charges for the current year is £12,121 which includes salaries (aggregating £5,115), travelling, postages, stationery, office accommodation and legal expenses, which are heavy as the Commissioners are. concerned in litigation over questions of liability for the repair of chancels and of title to minerals in respect of which there are conflicting claims. There is only one Commissioner in receipt of a salary of £1,500 a year. The second Commissioner, though entitled under the Act to a salary, has never drawn it. The extinguishment of tithe rent charge by the Tithe Act, 1936, only relieved the Commissioners of the collection of tithe and in view of the work which still has to be completed, no question can arise of winding up the Commission. The dissolution of the Commission was suspended by Order in Council in 1935 for seven years to the end of 1942 at which time the position will be further reviewed.