Victorian trusts for poor people go to Fife Council

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THOUSANDS of pounds left to help poor people by Victorian benefactors is to be fully taken over by Fife Council.

Money bequeathed to a local town and village will be transferred into new ‘settlement’ trusts in a bid to free it up for charitable use and cut red tape.

The single largest sum, of £1,242.38, is the Kinglassie Raemore Mortification, income from which was “to be applied for the benefit of the poor of the parish.”

A report to Glenrothes Area Committee, which considered the transfer plans, said: “This is the only extant trust for Kinglassie and the purposes appear to be sufficiently wide to continue to allow it to operate as a settlement trust, but the community’s views are sought.”

In Leslie, £118.09 and £778.02 respectively is held under the Millar and Wallace bequests, both of which were founded to benefit the “poor and needy”.

A further £442.65 was held by the Magistrates Fund, payments from which were “discretionary”.

Councillors at last Wednesday’s meeting were advised, in the report by committee services manager Andrew Ferguson, that the council, as trustees, would wind up all three funds and transfer them to the new settlement trust for Leslie, something to which the Lord Advocate had offered no objection.

Mr Ferguson explained the council had agreed to a re-organisation of existing trusts which the council ran two years ago.

He added: “The advantages were to unlock funds which had become unusable through outdated trust purposes and bring the whole funds administered by the council into modern trusts based around revelant towns and villages.

“The new settelement trusts were intended to be a way of cutting down on bureaucracy and releasing money available for charitable purposes.”

Existing arrangements for small payments from the trusts – for example to old folk at Christmas – would not be affected by the change, bids for larger grants would go before area committee members, who would now be responsible, while “urgent applications for poverty relief” would be put to the chairman.

Councillors agreed the move without comment.