In dealing on the Second Stage with the question of the contribution, the Minister gave the House a little homily on the duties of the family. I wonder would he follow that up by giving the House some information? The information may not be readily available to him, but nevertheless I want to ask this question: "What percentage of the children of the nation hand up the major portion or even 40 per cent. of their income towards the family budget?" We can hear laid down what may be accepted as the basic truths of the duties of the members of the family to each other, the duties of the children to their parents and so on. As a member of a local authority, this type of problem comes to my attention very frequently. The Minister makes his position clear. He says it is the duty of the sons and daughters in employment to contribute if necessary the major portion of their own earnings towards the family income. But in practice that is not followed anywhere in this country. As I understand it, the general practice is that sons and daughters earning, in the normal circumstances when the parents are healthy and the father working, contribute to their own keep, their shelter, their food, perhaps, and their clothes.
I would be very much interested if the Minister could indicate whether employed children contribute to any extent on the lines he states. If such an ideal situation existed, there would be a good deal less trouble and fewer economic difficulties in many of our families. As members of the Minister's own Party are surely aware and as the local authorities are aware, when it comes to the question of contributing to the family income by way of assisting in the payment of rent these employed children indicate very very often that they have their own personal commitments, including the necessity of providing for an approaching marriage, which might preclude their making any significant contribution to the family income.
Whatever the Minister may say, it is not the practice in the country for the children who are earning to contribute the major portion or even 50 per cent. or, indeed, 40 per cent., except in some rare cases directly towards the family.