MPs have been urged to donate a day's pay to help Bradford families who lost their Christmas savings when hamper company Farepak collapsed.

Trade and Industry minister Ian McCartney called on Parliamentarians to take the "moral high ground" and hand over at least £165 from their pay packets.

He described the firm's collapse as a "national emergency", which affected more than 100,000 people across the UK.

Hundreds of people in Bradford lost savings - to be reclaimed in vouchers and hampers - after the company went into administration, owing some £15 million.

MPs yesterday crowded into Westminster Hall - a Commons chamber - to demand Government action.

Mr McCartney said Department of Trade and Industry officials had worked through the night to hammer out a rescue package.

He said an agreement had been struck with York-based charity The Family Fund to establish a Farepak Response Fund. Ministers and MPs have been urged to persuade private companies and wealthy individuals to make a "goodwill" donation into the fund to help families facing a miserable Christmas.

In an appeal to MPs, he urged them to all make their own donations - reminding them that the average backbencher annual pay packet increased on November 1 from £59,686 to £60,277. He said: "I would ask members to give a day's pay to the fund."

Bradford South MP Gerry Sutcliffe and Bradford North MP Terry Rooney are set to hand over the cash in support. As is fellow Labour member Keighley MP Ann Cryer, whose staff have been working overtime to launch an appeal after receiving dozens of calls from anxious Farepak customers.

They hope to replace as much as possible of the estimated £30,000 handed over to Farepak by people across the Keighley constituency.

But Conservative Shipley MP Philip Davies said: "What about the people who are suffering because the Government failed to deliver on pensions - who will compensate them?"

Skipton Conservative MP David Curry and Leeds North West Liberal Democrat MP Greg Mulholland said they would look at the proposals and decide.

Farepak ran a savings scheme for 150,000 people for vouchers and Christmas hampers but collapsed in October.

The Department of Trade and Industry is investigating.

Administrators said no orders would be fulfilled after the company was taken into administration. Tesco pledged £250,000 for the fund.

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