§ MR. NICHOLLS (Northamptonshire)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he will say if, in the case of a man earning £31 10s. a year when over the age of seventy years, the wages may be divided for pension purposes, and so enable both his wife and himself to secure the old-age pension.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. JOHN BURNS,) Battersea
I am advised that the effect of subsections (1) and (2) of Section 4 of the Old-Age Pensions Act is that the means of a person, being one of a married couple living together in the same house, must be calculated in the same way as the means of a person who is not married, viz., as the amount received or enjoyed by him or her individually, with this exception, that the means of such a person must not be taken as being less than half the joint means of the couple. Hence, if the husband's means are £31 10s. a year, and the means of the wife are nil, the husband's means must be taken 1459 at £31 10s. a year and the wife's at not less than £15 15s. a year. The husband would thus be entitled to a pension of 1s. per week, and the wife to a pension of 5s. per week.
§ MR. CROOKS
asked if the right hon. Gentleman had not made a mistake. Had not the £31 to be divided between the two, and would not each be entitled to 5s. a week?
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
I have not made a mistake. I think it better to confine these Answers to the Law Officer's opinion, which I have now read out.
MR. T. F. RICHARDS
If the income of the man is £31 10s. where does the woman's £15 come from? That is the whole point.
§ [No Answer was returned.]