As a result of the deliberations of that, and other subsequent Working Parties, significant changes have been made to the governance of the Craft, particularly to the composition of the Board of General Purposes and to London, which is now a Metropolitan Grand Lodge.
There are other aspects of our masonry which need to be looked at from time to time and I have recently set up a new Strategic Working Party under the Chairmanship of the Deputy Grand Master.
It has already made various recommendations with regard to the role and membership of the Grand Master's Council, which advises the Grand Master in the exercise of his prerogative.
Once these have been approved by the Grand Master, and in the interests of greater transparency, they will be widely disseminated so that everyone will have a better understanding of the work of that Council.
The Strategic Working Party will shortly be looking at the financial structure of the United Grand Lodge of England, and as part of that process it will be considering the level of dues and our charitable contribution, both short-term and long-term.
English Freemasonry is relatively cheap nowadays when compared to what it cost only 20 or so years ago. Our dues have not kept pace with inflation and despite savings and increased efficiency our overall costs have risen. The same can be said for the charitable contribution and this now needs to be addressed.
This review is a major exercise and will entail consultation with many relevant parties before any recommendations are made to Grand Lodge. We are well aware of the constraints on the finances of some of our older and younger brethren, and will be exploring ways to try and limit the impact of any increases on those who can least afford it.
Brethren, on behalf of the MW Grand Master and my fellow Rulers, I would like to wish you and your families peace and joy for the festive season, and a prosperous and happy New Year.