Board of General Purposes and General Council
Just over three years ago amendments were made to the Book of Constitutions following the recommendations of the Strategic Working Party set up by the then Pro Grand Master, the late MW Bro. Lord
Farnham, to consider the working structures of English Freemasonry.
At the same time it was intimated that the changes would be reviewed after three years to see whether further adjustments might
The Pro Grand Master has reconvened the Strategic Working Party, which has now concluded its review. In the light of its recommendations the Board
(a) the General Council would serve the interests of English Freemasonry better if it were a standing committee available for consultation when required, rather than a body meeting on regular
prescribed dates fixed long in advance which may bear no relation to the needs of the moment; and
(b) the Grand Master, Pro Grand Master, Deputy Grand Master and Assistant Grand Master, although not members of the Board of General Purposes, should nevertheless receive the
Board's papers and have the right to attend and speak at its meetings should they so desire.
Lord Cadogan, President of the Board of General Purposes, has reported on discussions with HM Customs and Excise over how much of
Grand Lodge dues should be zero-rated following recent case law.
He said Grand Lodge had recovered some £1m
retrospectively for the three years to 31 December 2001. That money would be refunded to all Lodges in England and Wales by
way of a credit against future dues.
This would be done on the basis of Lodge memberships recorded on Grand Lodge's registers as at 31 December 2001, and would amount to approximately £3 per member of each Lodge.
In the period January to June 2002, Grand Lodge dues
will be subject to a reduced rate for VAT charge rather than 17.5%, and the overpayment in the first six months will be
refunded by way of another credit against future dues.
The VAT rate will change from 1 July 2002, and will vary from year to year as Grand Lodge's expenditure on zerorated items itself varies.
Lord Cadogan said he expected the VAT charge to fluctuate between 6% and 8% over the next few years.
(This report was made to Grand Lodge at its Ouarterly Communication on 12 June 2002.)
The Board has received a report that ten Lodges have closed and have surrendered their Warrants. The Lodges are:
Henry B. Loch Lodge No. 2383 (South Africa, Central Division); Mendelssohn Lodge No. 3142 (South Africa, Central Division); Wayfarers Lodge No. 4600 (London); Lodge of Assiduity No. 4844 (London); Eureka Lodge No. 4940 (Cheshire); Avenham Lodge No. 5489 (West Lancashire); Sentinel Lodge No. 6095 (Cheshire); Heston St Leonard Lodge No. 7378 (Middlesex); Salwick Lodge No. 7993 (West Lancashire) and Nutfield Lodge No. 8343 (Surrey).
Over recent years, the Lodges have been unable to
attract a sufficient
flow of new members and have suffered very low attendances.
The Board is satisfied that further efforts to save them would be to no avail and therefore has no alternative but to recommend that they be erased. Recommendation approved
The Board of General Purposes will meet in 2003 on the following dates: 11 February, 18 March, 13 May, 15 July, 11 November..
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