HC Deb 14 October 1908 vol 194 cc293-5
MR. GODFREY BARING (Isle of Wight)

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Admiralty whether he is aware that several boards of guardians have passed resolutions requesting the Admiralty to arrange for the weekly payment of naval pensions; and whether he can hold out any hope that these requests will be complied with in the near future.


I am aware that such resolutions have been passed, and I have been giving them the fullest consideration. After weighing most carefully the relative merits of the present system of payment of pensions and that proposed by the boards of guardians, we have come to the conclusion that the balance of advantage lies, on the whole, with the present system, and there does not appear to be sufficient ground for departing from the existing arrangements under which naval pensioners receive payment quarterly in advance.

MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this matter has been pressed upon his predecessors by several bodies?


Yes, Sir. I am aware resolutions have been passed by several bodies, but I have come to the conclusion that the balance of advantage lies on the whole with the present system. There does not appear sufficient ground therefore for departing from the present arrangement by which the naval pensioners receive payment quarterly in advance.

SIR FRANCIS CHANNING (Northamptonshire, E.)

asked whether the right hon. Gentleman could give the number of boards of guardians who had sent up resolutions, and whether they had not based the resolutions on the scenes of drunkenness and disorder which arose.


I cannot say offhand. I am under the impression that boards of guardians have not made any definite inquiry as to the number of cases of thriftlessness among naval pensioners. The Admiralty have inquired, and they have found that the present system is far more popular than a different system would be amongst the pensioners themselves, and that thriftless persons among naval pensioners are few. In the circumstances, the Admiralty would not be justified in making the change in question.

MR. TOMKINSON (Cheshire, Crewe)

Would it not be possible for pensions to be paid quarterly to the guardians and by them paid out weekly to the pensioners?


I should be pleased to consider any proposal of that kind, but I do not think I should be justified in promising to alter a system which gives satisfaction to the vast majority of those concerned.

EARL WINTERTON (Sussex, Horsham)

Will the right hon. Gentleman give a return of the board of guardians which have passed these resolutions.


I shall be pleased to give that information.


asked whether the First Lord of the Admiralty consulted the War Office before arriving at a decision?


said he did not know that there was any analogy between the cases of naval and War Office pensioners.