HC Deb 17 June 1976 vol 913 cc236-7W
Mr. Christopher Price

Price asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the present position on tithe redemption annuities; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Under the Tithe Act 1936, tithe redemption annuities are payable until 1996, unless terminated earlier because the Treasury is satisfied that there are sufficient funds in the account to service existing Redemption Stocks and meet the eventual costs of redemption. Annuities are compulsorily redeemed if the land is sold or divided.

The administrative costs of the scheme have increased with inflation, and the Government have decided that steps should now be taken to speed the extinguishment of tithe redemption annuities. It is proposed, therefore, that there should be only two further annuity payments—a normal payment in October 1976, followed by a final payment in October 1977, equal to twice the normal payment on the basis of ownership of land at that time. It is expected that this will ensure that there are sufficient funds to service and ultimately to redeem the outstanding redemption stock; if unexpectedly there is a shortfall it will be met by the Exchequer. The existing rights attached to the redemption stock will, therefore, be fully protected.

Legislation to this effect will be included in the Finance Act 1977.

In these circumstances, from today no further notices of compulsory redempttion of annuities will be issued.