§ [SECOND READING.]
§ Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.
§ LORD BELPER
My Lords, this Bill deals with the case of those Reservists who have been called out and who were members of the different police forces in the country. The Bill proposes to authorise the authorities to grant out of the police funds certain allowances and gratuities to those Reservists and their families. The discretion with regard to this is left to the police authorities, but there are certain limits which the Bill imposes with regard to the amounts that may be given. With regard to a married man, it is laid down that the total sum which shall be granted to his family should be a sum which, together with the weekly amount of any separation or other allowance required to be paid out of military funds in pursuance of any Royal Warrant, and the weekly amount of any compulsory deductions from the man's pay as a soldier, shall not exceed the total weekly amount which he was receiving from police funds when called out. In the case of a man who is not married it is laid down that the allowance granted shall not exceed in the aggregate 8s. a week. There is also a power given to the police authorities to grant a gratuity in the case of a man who dies or is disabled while employed on Army service, in the same way as they would be able to do if he were still a member of the police force. I do not think it is at all necessary to adduce any argument in favour of this proposal. The obligation to support the wives and families of Reservists has been so generally admitted all over the country that I feel confident your Lordships will readily assent to this Bill. It is, of course, understood that this is merely permissive. There are, no 402 doubt, certain police authorities who will not find it necessary to put the provisions of this Bill into force. In certain counties, one of which I am aware of, provision has been made by voluntary contributions not only for Reservists in the employment of private individuals, but also for Reservists who are employed by the police and by large companies. At the same time there are a considerable number of authorities who have asked the Home Office to give them this power, and who are, in fact, already giving gratuities which will be legalised by this Bill. It is in conformity with a promise which has been given by the Home Secretary that this Bill, which has passed through the other House of Parliament, has been introduced.
§ Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.—(Lord Belper.)
§ On Question, agreed to; Bill read 2a accordingly, and committed to a Committee of the whole House on Friday next.