HC Deb 22 June 1948 vol 452 cc1118-9
30. Brigadier Peto

asked the Minister of Pensions what is the total amount of money in the King's Fund, of which he is the principal trustee; for what purposes it is used; and how much was paid out in benefits during 1947.

Mr. Buchanan

The balance remaining in the King's Fund on the 16th June was approximately £81,600. The King's Fund, which is entirely dependent upon voluntary donations and bequests, is used to provide additional help, for objects which are outside the scope of Government grants, to those who have been disabled or bereaved by war service and are in need or distress. Those who may benefit include ex-members of His Majesty's Forces disabled in either World War, disabled ex-members of the Mercantile Marine and the Civil Defence Organisations and the widows and dependants of those who lost their lives. The amount spent in benefits during 1947 was £13,337.

Brigadier Peto

Does not that reply indicate that it is time for the Government to reconsider raising the basic rate so that those who suffer 100 per cent. disability pension are not dependent—

Mr. Speaker

The basic rate does not appear to come under this Question, which only asks for the total amount of money in the King's Fund.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Can the right hon. Gentleman use this Fund for particularly pathetic cases just outside the regulations, such as the one to which I drew his attention, where a disabled ex-Service man has only a few months to live owing to cancer, for which he is not entitled to have a pension?

Mr. Buchanan

We use this Fund very liberally. It is not used to supplement pensions but for a variety of purposes in connection with the ordinary difficulties of human life that pensions cannot overcome. We use it in a very generous way and, in the main, the officials who run it are to be complimented.

Mr. Lipson

Will my right hon. Friend take steps to make it widely known that it is both necessary and desirable to increase this Fund, and that contributions from well-meaning people would be welcomed?

Mr. Buchanan

Only today I have sent out a letter to somebody who has left us £1,000 in a will. Also I addressed letters the other day to the Scottish Football Association and to the greyhound racing people asking them for help. I shall be truly thankful to anybody who can help us in this way.

Mr. Vane

The right hon. Gentleman told us how much was spent out of that Fund last year; can he tell us what was the income?

Mr. Buchanan

I could not say what is the income without notice.