HC Deb 03 December 1908 vol 197 cc1634-5

To ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer whether private instructions have been issued to pension officers prescribing the mode in which they are to calculate the profits derived from small holdings in Ireland; whether he is aware that in many cases the pension officers estimate these profits as being twice the Poor Law valuation; and, if private instructions have been issued, will he communicate them to the House.

(Answered by Mr. Hobhouse.) My right hon. friend cannot add anything to the replies which he has already given on this subject. As he has already explained, each case has to be dealt with on its merits. Confidential instructions have been given to pension officers as to the general lines upon which they should guide themselves in their reports to the committees; but these instructions do not—nor is it in his opinion desirable that they should—bind the committees, or (upon appeal) the Local Government Board., whose duty it is to exercise an independent discretion in the matter. For this reason, it does not appear to him to be desirable to publish the confidential instructions in question.