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Charities (Lord Hastings Hospital Trust) Order 1980

Volume 414: debated on Tuesday 11 November 1980

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4.25 p.m.

My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Belstead, I beg to move that the Draft Charities (Lord Hastings Hospital Trust) Order 1980 be approved. This order brings into effect a scheme of the Charity Commissioners for the regulation of the charity known as the Lord Hastings Hospital Trust. The charity was incorporated by Lord Hastings of Loughborough under the authority of an Act of Parliament of 1558. Its purpose was to provide almshouse accommodation for a master and six poor inhabitants in the parish of Stoke Poges in Buckinghamshire. The purpose of the scheme set out in the appendix to the order is to alter the trusts of the charity which were established in their present form in a scheme confirmed by a public general Act of Parliament of 1856. The new scheme does not differ substantially from many others that are made each year by the Charity Commissioners. But since it amends provisions which have effect under a public general Act of Parliament the draft order giving effect to the scheme is required by section 19(3) of the Charities Act 1960 to be approved by resolution of each House of Parliament. Such schemes requiring affirmative resolution are not common. I believe that only one similar order has been made under the Act of 1960.

Your Lordships may find it helpful if I briefly explain the purpose of the scheme and the background to it. Under the scheme confirmed by the Act of 1856 the charity trustees were given power to sell the almshouse buildings and apply the proceeds in erecting new buildings in the parish of Stoke Poges or the immediate vicinity. Because their condition and situation were no longer considered satisfactory, the almshouses have been sold. But there is no land in Stoke Poges or the vicinity on which new almshouses could be built by the trustees at a price which they could afford. The trustees are therefore unable to apply the income of the charity in the way required by the present trusts. They have accordingly asked the Charity Commissioners to alter the trusts by making a scheme under which the income may be applied for a different purpose. This step is not unusual and the Commissioners have agreed.

That is the main purpose of the new scheme which we have before us in this draft order. It will alter the existing trusts so as to enable the trustees to apply the charity's income for the relief (otherwise than by the provision of almshouse accommodation) of poor people in Stoke Poges. The power to provide new almshouses, should it become possible to do so, is retained. The scheme also contains certain other amendments to the scheme confirmed by the Act of 1856, all of which are designed to secure the better administration of the charity. For instance, it establishes a new body of trustees in the place of those appointed under the earlier scheme and contains standard provisions for the regulation of the charity. I hope your Lordships will agree that these arrangements are worthwhile, and I commend the order and scheme to your Lordships' approval. I beg to move.

Moved, That the draft order laid before the House on 22nd July be approved.—(Lord Sandys.)

My Lords, I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, for his explanation of this order and I am sure that all noble Lords will be very grateful to him for that. It is interesting to note that, as the noble Lord has indicated, it is quite an early charity, dating from 1558. It therefore dates from before the great statute of Elizabeth I, the Charitable Uses Act 1601, and it was not affected by that Act. This charity must have been very well drawn originally and its purposes were clearly not among those abuses aimed at by that statute of Elizabeth I; so that one can only congratulate those originally associated with it.

At this slightly late stage, it is perhaps sad that a new scheme has had to be drawn up and that it is no longer possible to pursue the previous purposes of this scheme. Nevertheless, if I may say so, it certainly appears, both from the explanation by the noble Lord, Lord Sandys, and from the scheme contained in the order itself, that those involved in drawing it up have done a very good job indeed. I think it only remains for me to wish the charity every success in the future and to invite your Lordships to join with the noble Lord in supporting this order.

On Question, Motion agreed to.