HC Deb 05 July 2001 vol 371 c251W
39. Mr. Steen

To ask the Solicitor-General if she will make a statement on her policy relating to the Coram family, with special reference to plans to display its works of art and other memorabilia. [912]

The Solicitor-General

I must emphasise at the outset that I am required to act in this matter as protector of charity. Indeed, it would be improper for me to take into account any consideration other than what is in the best interests of charity.

The Thomas Coram Foundation is a child care charity—its objects are broadly the support and maintenance of poor children. My predecessor intervened, as he was required to do, to ensure that any plans for the Hogarth paintings and other heritage assets which belong to the foundation are consistent with charity law. Essentially, the assets must be applied for the purpose of benefiting the charitable objects of the foundation, that is to say for child care purposes.

I sympathise with the position of the Governors and Coram and am anxious to assist them to find a solution which is in the best interests of the charity.

So the Attorney-General will be discussing this, among other issues, with the Charity Commissioners and will meet the Governors of Coram to discuss it with them.