§ 64. Mr. W. THORNE
asked the Minister of Health the Government's annual contribution to the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund; and if he can state what is the total amount granted from the fund to the 28 Metropolitan Poor Law Unions?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the MINISTRY of HEALTH (Sir Kingsley Wood)
There is no Government contribution to the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, which is a fund levied by rates for the purpose of equalising Poor Rate burdens over the County of London. The total amount chargeable on the Fund for the 12 months ended 30th September, 1925, was £5,399,880.
§ 65. Mr. THORNE
also asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that, in consequence of the delay in paying the money when due to the 28 Metropolitan Poor Law unions, a number of them are compelled to get his permission to obtain overdrafts from the banks until the grant is received, which puts them to inconvenience and extra cost in consequence of having to pay interest on the overdrafts at the bank; and if he can see his way clear to facilitate having the grants sent to the various Poor Law unions as speedily as possible?
§ Sir K. WOOD
My right hon. Friend cannot agree that at the present time the fact that payments from the Common Poor Fund are made in arrear leads to any financial difficulty, for the guardians in any half-year receive from the Fund a sum substantially equivalent to the amount which will ultimately be due to them from the Fund in respect of their expenditure in that half-year. At the present time, only six of the Metropolitan boards of guardians are using overdrafts or temporary loans to meet their current 1617 expenditure. So far as money is borrowed for the purpose of defraying expenses repayable out of the Metropolitan Common Poor Fund, interest on the sums so borrowed is a charge upon the Fund. Every effort is made to ensure that payments to and from the Fund are made without delay; they are made at the earliest possible date after the audit of the accounts of the authorities, and my right hon. Friend is afraid it is not practicable to arrange for earlier payments.