§ Mr. MORTON
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he can say what effect the granting of old age pensions has had on the poor rate of the United Kingdom?
§ The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Burns)
I must limit my answer to an estimate for England and Wales. Scotland and Ireland are within the province of the Secretary for Scotland and the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Only a rough estimate can be made. As shown in the statement with regard to persons in receipt of Poor Law relief on 31st December, 1910, which was presented to Parliament in April last, the decrease in pauperism estimated to have been the immediate effect of the removal of the pauper disqualification for old age pensions at the beginning of the present year represented a charge of about £22,000 a week on the rates. If account be taken of those persons who, though not in receipt of relief in December last, had, previous to 1140 1st January, 1911, been disqualified by the temporary receipt of relief since 1st January, 1909, the saving may perhaps be treated in round figures at about £1,200,000 a year.
§ Mr. HARRY LAWSON
Is it true that this has had a less proportionate effect in the county of London than any other part of the country?
§ Mr. BURNS
I think it rather early to say that. I think it is only right that the various Departments who are dealing both with the Poor Law and pensions should prepare an accurate statement as soon as possible giving the total decrease of the cost to the rates, and questions like that involved in the question of the hon. Member.
§ Mr. KEIR HARDIE
Can the right hon. Gentleman say what is the cost to the State of providing pensions for those who have hitherto cost the rates £1,200,000 a year?