§ MR. CATHCART WASON (Orkney and Shetland)
I beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer if he could inform the House of the number of persons approximately over sixty-five years who are in want of poverty who would be likely to apply for a pension of 5s. a week; and also an estimate of the saving that might be effected in poor rates were such a pension granted to the poor.
§ MR. ASQUITH
This is a matter of mere speculation. It will be remembered that the proposals made by a Select Committee of this House about the aged deserving poor, which excluded on specific grounds a number of persons from the pension list, were referred to a Departmental Committee to examine from a financial point of view. After allowing for the exclusions specified in the Committee's terms of reference, they estimated the cost of the scheme at £10,300,000 in 1901, and £12,650,000 in 1911. The present cost on this basis would probably not be far short of £11,500,000.