39 and 40. Captain D'ARCY HALL
asked the Minister of Agriculture (1) if he is aware that the expenses in connection with tithe redemption are assessed under different scales; that in a recent case at Knighton scale C was employed, entailing a charge of £216, whereas at at Wotton-under-Edge, in a similar case, scale A was employed! and, seeing that if scale A had been employed in the former case the amount would have only been £86, will he state how the Department reaches a decision to operate under a particular scale; and whether the Treasury participates in these fees or whether these cover the expenses of the Ministry of Agriculture only;
(2) Whether, with regard to the action brought by his Department to recover an unpaid balance of tithe redemption money and expenses at Knighton, he is aware that his Department in this case redeemed the tithe for a sum of £358 while the fees and expenses connected therewith were £216; and, in view of the great disparity of these amounts, will he state how such fees and expenses were assessed?
The facts to which my hon. and gallant Friend calls attention are substantially correct, and I recognise that there are certain disparities in the existing method of assessing the expenses in cases of compulsory tithe redemption. I regret that I have no power to reduce the charges in the particular case referred to, but 1411 I am considering whether it is not possible to revise the scale of fees so as to remove in future the anomalies which may occur under the present system. I may add, however, that no profit accrues to the Exchequer from these transactions, and that, taken as a whole, the fees do not quite cover the expenses of the Ministry.