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House Of Commons Members' Fund

Volume 940: debated on Wednesday 30 November 1977

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11.51 p.m.

I beg to move,

That, in pursuance of the provisions of Section 3 of the House of Commons Members' Fund Act 1948, the maximum annual amounts of the periodical payments which may be made out of the House of Commons Members' Fund under the House of Commons Members' Fund Act 1939 as amended by the said Act of 1948 and by the Resolutions of the House of 17th November 1955, 7th March 1957, 17th May 1961, 9th March 1965, 4th May 1971, 1st August 1972, 29th November 1974, 27th November 1975 and 8th November 1976 be varied as from 1st December 1976 as follows:
  • (a) for paragraph 1 of Schedule 1 to the said Act of 1939, as so amended, there shall be substituted the following paragraph:—
    • '1. The annual amount of any periodical payment made to any person by virtue of his past membership of the House of Commons shall not exceed £1,140 or such sum as, in the opinion of the trustees, will bring his income up to £2,050 per annum, whichever is the less;
    • Provided that if, having regard to length of service and need, the trustees think fit, they may make a larger payment not exceeding £2,200 or such sum as, in their opinion, will bring his income up to £3,110 per annum, whichever is the less';
  • (b) for paragraph 2 of the said Schedule there shall be substituted the following paragraph:
    • '2. The annual amount of any periodical payment to any person by virtue of her being a widow of a past Member of the House of Commons shall not exceed £570 or such sum as, in the opinion of the trustees, will bring her income up to £1,480 per annum, whichever is the less:
    • Provided that if, having regard to her husband's length of service or to her need, the trustees think fit, they may make a larger payment not exceeding £1,100 or such sum as, in the opinion of the trustees, will bring her income up to £2,010 per annum, whichever is the less';
  • (c) in paragraph 2A of the said Schedule for the words 'the annual amount of any periodical payment' to the end of the paragraph, there shall be substituted the words:—
    • 'the annual amount of any periodical payment made to any such widower shall not exceed £570 or such sum as, in the opinion of the trustees, will bring his income up to £1,480 per annum, whichever is the less:
    • Provided that if, having regard to his wife's length of service or to his needs, the trustees think fit, they may make a larger payment not exceeding £1,100 or such sum as, in the opinion of the trustees, will bring his income up to £2,010 per annum, whichever is the less.'
    The motion concerns something that the Committee on the Members' Fund is trying to do to keep in step with the inflationary trend. If one looks back at the Order Paper one sees what has happened over the last few years. It would be as well to say that many hon. Members are anxious that these improvements should be made as soon as possible.

    I should like to mention a few details, without taking up too much time. The number of recipients of grants at present is as follows: ex-Members, 18; widows, 31; hardship cases, seven. The income of the Fund is as follows: Members' contributions, £15,000 per annum; grant in aid, £15,000 per annum; interest from investments, £22,500 per annum. That makes a total of £52,500. Payments from the Fund total £38,559 per annum. Additional expenditure arising from the motion will be £6,000.

    Question put and agreed to.