§ MR. THOMAS BAYLEY (Derbyshire, Chesterfield)
I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for War whether the widows and orphans of the soldiers killed in action during the present South African war will have any claim (and, if so, what claim) on the surplus funds of the Patriotic and Soldiers' Effects Funds administered by the Royal Patriotic Commissioners, as reported by the Select Committee of the House of Commons in 1896; and whether his attention has been called to the large amounts which the Commissioners now hold in excess of their liability to widows and children of British soldiers killed during the Crimean war.
The position of the funds referred to by the hon. Member in relation to claims of the relatives of those who lose their lives in the present war, and the schemes on which those funds and further funds that may be subscribed can best be administered, are now under consideration, and a conference with the Commissioners will be sought on the subject. It is impossible to make any definite statement at the moment, but the hon. Member may rest assured that the matter will receive early and careful attention.
§ MR. KEARLEY (Devonport)
Is it not a fact that these funds from the time when they were first handed over to the Commissioners have increased from £48,000 to £155,000, and that during their administration they had not spent a fourth of their income?
I cannot give a categorical answer. Undoubtedly the funds have increased. The Commissioners are convinced that by the present mode of administration the 728 funds will be exhausted for the benefit of those for whom they were subscribed.