HC Deb 12 December 1955 vol 547 cc968-9

11.8 p.m.

Sir Hugh Linstead (Putney)

I beg to move, That there 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. By the First Schedule to the 1939 Act, referred to in the Motion, there are certain limitations set on the payments which can be made out of the Members' Fund. These limitations, in the case of Members, are such amounts as will bring an income of up to £325 a year or, in the case of widows, up to £225 a year.

By Section 4 of the 1948 Act, special provision is made for cases of special hardship, and that Section also provides that the House may, in any year, by resolution, direct the appropriation of a sum of money not exceeding one-tenth of Members' total contributions to be used for cases of special hardship. The Trustees in recent years have found that their income has substantially exceeded the calls made on the Fund under the 1939 Act and that they are accumulating more money each year than is actuarially needed to carry out their responsibility under the 1939 Act. There are cases of old Members of this House, or their widows, which constitute cases of special hardship such as are contemplated by Section 4 of the 1948 Act.

In those circumstances it was thought that it was reasonable to come back to the House and to say that some of the surplus income, which in effect is unused money, should be used as Section 4 of the House of Commons Members' Fund Act, 1948, provides, to meet some of those cases of special hardship. It is in order to get the authority of the House to make an appropriation for that purpose, that the Motion appears on the Order Paper.

Mr. Herbert W. Bowden (Leicester, South-West)

I beg to second the Motion.

Question put, and agreed to.