A separate paper of business for a General
Meeting of the Grand Charity is published
on pages 59-60.
Election of the Grand Master
HRH The Duke of Kent was unanimously
re-elected Grand Master with acclamation.
Commission for Appeals Courts
The following four Metropolitan members
were elected for 2005-2008: W Bro His
Honour Peter Slot PJGD; W Bro D. L.
Morgan PJGD; W Bro E. B. D. Waldy
PAGReg; W Bro M. J. Messent. The
four Provincial members elected were:
W Bros B W Travers, P L Bird, District
Judge P E Lawton and D N Cheetham.
Contributions to the Grand Charity
The Board is carrying out an in-depth
review of both the short and long-term
financing of the Craft because it has for
some time been aware that annual dues
have not kept pace with running costs,
and that investment income has been relied
on to bridge the gap.
In addition to this, the cost of
maintaining the fabric of Freemasons’ Hall,
which is now over 75 years old, continues to
increase. Asbestos has recently been
discovered throughout the building, and this
must be removed at once in order to comply
with current Health and Safety legislation.
The Board believes that this exercise,
which is progressing well and is on target
for completion before the new Masonic
season begins next September, will cost
approximately £2.5 million.
This was not an expected commitment,
and was not, therefore, taken into account
when the dues for 2005 were fixed a year
ago. It is likely that other major works will
also be needed within the next few years,
and prudence requires that the Board
set aside funds each year to cover these
The Board believes that it is not sound
commercial practice to subsidise the annual
cost of running the Craft and maintaining
Freemasons’ Hall out of investment income.
The latter should only be used to
maintain and build up a portfolio of
investments in order to support a healthy
balance sheet and to provide the cushion
that is needed when unexpected costs
or major expenditure on special projects
In future, the true cost of running the
Craft as a whole, including the day to day
cost of our flagship building, Freemasons’
Hall, which is an asset belonging to the entire
membership, should be covered by dues.
Whilst the Board is concerned at the
possible effect of a large increase in dues
on membership, it nevertheless considers
that, looking to the future, annual dues
for Metropolitan and Provincial Lodges
in the region of £25 is a realistic amount.
The Board has considered the merits of
a one-off levy on all members of the Craft
to meet the cost of the removal of asbestos,
but has concluded that it is fairer to recover
the cost through the annual dues over an
The Board, therefore, recommends that
in 2006 the annual dues, including VAT,
should be for Metropolitan and Provincial
Lodges £20, for Lodges in a District £4.75,
for Lodges abroad not in a District £8, and
for Lodges in England and Wales that are
A Resolution to this effect was approved.
The Board hopes that further increases
in 2007 will not exceed an amount in line
The Board considers that the method
set out in Rule 269 for calculating the dues
payable by Lodges in a District and Lodges
abroad not in a District by reference to
a formula originally devised many years
ago takes no account of the true cost of
administering those Lodges, and that it
would be more equitable for Grand Lodge
to be free to fix the amount that is payable
having regard to all relevant circumstances.
Clearly, however, this would be a
profound change for Lodges falling into
these categories, and the Board wishes
to consult them before recommending
a change to the Rule.
Under Rule 271, Book of Constitutions,
Grand Lodge must fix each year the annual
contribution that is payable to the Grand
Charity. The Council of the Grand Charity
has requested that for 2006 the annual
contribution be raised to £10 in respect
of each member of a Lodge in the
Metropolitan Area or Province, or in
England and Wales that is unattached.
A Resolution to this effect was approved.
The Board is conscious that the
combined effect of the increase in Grand
Lodge dues and the contribution to the
Grand Charity impose an additional
financial burden on the membership.
However, it has reviewed the level of
Grand Lodge dues over the last 20 years
or so, and is satisfied that the proposed
new amounts payable are not excessive,
particularly when compared with the cost
of other social activities.
In real terms the cost of membership
of the Craft at present is lower than it was
20 years ago and is substantially lower than
the cost of membership in much of the rest
of Europe and elsewhere.
Members should appreciate that if the
recommendations which the Board makes
for the annual dues and Grand Charity
contribution are approved the normal
annual cost in England and Wales of
membership of this Grand Lodge will, in
2006, still be less than 60p per week, well
below the cost of the average Sunday
However, the Board will be continuing
to review the way in which the Craft is
funded in order to keep increases in dues
to the minimum required to support Grand
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