§ Mr. BOTTOMLEY
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that, in certain districts of London, pensioners have been kept for some weeks before receiving their pensions owing to the failure of the officers to renew the books; and whether he will take steps to instil better business methods into the administration of the Act in such districts?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Hobhouse)
I am inquiring as to one case of which particulars have been furnished to me. If the hon. Member will furnish me with particulars of any other cases he has in mind, I will make inquiries as to them also.
§ Mr. FELL
asked how many old age pensioners there were in England and Ireland, respectively, at the beginning and end of last year; how many pensioners died in each country in the year; and what was the death rate among them in each country, and how this death rate compares with the estimates made by the Govern- 22 ment actuaries of the average death rate to be expected of persons over seventy years of age?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
(1) The number of pensions payable were:—
§ On last Friday in 1909.
§ England (excluding Monmouthshire), 405,755.
§ Ireland, 183,976.
§ On last Friday in 1910.
§ England (excluding Monmouthshire), 441,432.
§ Ireland, 182,967.
§ (2) The number of deaths of pensioners in 1910 were:—
§ England (excluding Monmouthshire), 39,786.
§ Ireland, 16,742,
§ representing a death-rate (calculated on the mean number of pensioners) of 93 per thousand for England and 91 per thousand for Ireland. The death-rate for septuagenarians generally is approximately 116 per thousand. It should, however, be pointed out that owing to the fact that the percentage of paupers is much higher at the higher ages, the average age of pensioners is less than the average age of the general septuagenarian population.
§ Mr. MULDOON
asked whether any complaints have reached him in respect of the delay in payments of the old age pensions at Arklow, county Wicklow; whether the local pensions officer there has a district too large to work; whether it is his practice when a book is exhausted to delay the issue of another sometimes for several weeks; whether the local committee has complained of this at recent meetings; and whether he intends to take any steps in the matter?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I am not aware of any recent complaints from Arklow as to delay in payment of old age pensions or in the delivery of new books of pension orders. I understand, however, that two of the pension committees in the area of the officer in question have passed resolutions to the effect that he is overworked. It is true that this officer's area is a large one; but the assistance given him has been amply sufficient to provide for the proper performance of the work. I see no necessity for taking any steps in the matter.
§ Mr. JAMES O'KELLY
asked the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland whether he would have the case of Michael Kenny, of Carnamaddy, Elphin, 23 County Roscommon, inquired into, he alleging that the decision of the local pension committee had been disallowed owing to misrepresentation as to means on the part of the pension officer?
§ The CHIEF SECRETARY for IRELAND (Mr. Birrell)
The Local Government Board upheld the appeal of the pension officer in this case, as it appeared that Kenny was in occupation of twelve statute acres of good land, fairly stocked and cropped, and would derive an income of more than £31 10s. 0d. therefrom. Kenny wrote to the Board alleging that he had only seven acres of land, and that the pension officer's report regarding the area under crops was wrong. It transpired, however, that the claimant quoted Irish acres, whilst the pension officer gave the statute acreage, and that the areas given in the pension officer's report as being under certain crops corresponded with Kenny's own statement to the Board, except as regards the area under hay.