Mr. CATHCART WASON
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he was aware that persons unable on account of age to 685 work their crofts or small holdings, and who have been compelled to leave their holdings, have been refused old age pensions on the technical grounds that they have divested themselves of their property, although the total amount has been infinitesimal; and, if so, what action he proposes to take?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
Section 4 (3) of the Old Age Pensions Act provides that, if a claimant appears to have divested himself of property for the purpose of obtaining an old age pension, the income or yearly value of such property is to be reckoned as part of the claimant's means. I have no authority to interfere with the discretion of local committees or of the Local Government Board in applying the provisions of the Sub-section; but I understand that it is not the practice of those bodies to apply it in cases of the kind referred to in the question where the reason of the transfer can properly be regarded as inability to continue working the croft. If cases have arisen in which the Section appears to have been harshly applied, it is open to the persons affected to submit fresh claims. I do not, therefore, think it necessary to take any action in the matter.