§ 10.19 p.m.
§ Mr. William Whiteley (Blaydon)
I beg to move,That, in the opinion of this House, there shall be appropriated, from the sums deducted from the salaries of Members of Parliament under the House of Commons Members' Fund Act, 1939, one-tenth of these deductions in the current year for the purposes of administering the provisions of the House of Commons Members' Fund Act, 1948, Section 4.This Motion arises out of the Act of 1948. Prior to 1948 the Trustees were not in a position to deal with hardship cases, and the Act of that year was passed in order that they should be able to deal with the very hard cases which the House thought at that time, and has since thought, it desirable to deal with. Under the Act a fund of £3,000 was established out of Members' contributions, in order to give the Trustees an opportunity of dealing with these cases.
Since the Act was passed there have been five awards under the Section dealing with hardship cases, and we have come to the point when the amount of money in the fund is getting very low. As a matter of fact, on 30th September last year we had used £2,531 of the fund, and even if we had no further applications in cases of hardship, having to pay £470 per annum in existing cases would mean that the fund would be exhausted by 30th September this year. That would prevent our continuing these benefits, which I am certain everyone would agree ought to be continued, and would prevent our bringing the fund to its proper establishment.
Therefore, the Trustees come to the House to ask that the fund be replenished out of the Members' Fund, from the contributions of £12 per year, so that we may continue the present awards and be able in future to deal with cases which may come before us.