The Ministry of Defence's Policy on War Memorials
The Maintenance of War Memorials
A large number of war memorials which had been erected by private subscription were subsequently handed over to parish councils, urban councils and boroughs to maintain. In order to ensure that every form of local council had the ability to raise appropriate funds to preserve these war memorials, the War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923 was passed. Under the terms of this Act, as amended by section 133 of the Local Government Act 1948, the Parish Councils Act 1957 and the Local Government Act 1972, responsibility for the overall control of war memorials was vested with local authorities, who were empowered to incur reasonable expenditure for the maintenance, repair and protection of war memorials within their control. The Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 and the Local Government and Planning (Scotland) Act 1982 also apply for war memorials in Scotland. Those powers also extend to the alteration of a memorial to enable the fallen of any subsequent war to that for which it was originally intended, to be commemorated.
Whilst the above Acts empowered local authorities to care for war memorials, they did not compel them to do so. Responsibility for the provisions of the War Memorials (Local Authorities' Powers) Act 1923 rests with the Home Office. Responsibility for the maintenance, repair and protection of individual war memorials lies with the owner, or the body in which ownership is vested.