HC Deb 02 April 1914 vol 60 cc1323-5
12. Mr. BOLAND

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he is aware that Patrick Murphy, Fermoyle, Emlaghmore, who is eighty-six years of age, is an applicant for an old age pension; that he has been fourteen years in Ireland since his last visit to America, and that when particulars were taken by the pension officer Murphy, who is hard of hearing owing to old age, he did not properly understand his questions; and whether inquiry will now be made with a view to granting a pension to him?


Patrick Murphy's claim for an old age pension was disallowed by the Local Government Board on appeal on the 9th January, 1914, on the grounds that in their opinion he did not comply with the statutory conditions as to residence in the United Kingdom. The Board have no information as to the allegation that the claimant was unable to understand the questions put to him by the pension officer. He made no statements of the kind in any of his communications to the Board, and in any case he was unable to furnish satisfactory evidence to show that he was qualified for a pension. The Board have no power to reopen consideration of a case already decided.


asked whether, in the absence of a register of births, the Local Government Board for Ireland accept the evidence of persons over seventy, corroborated by dates of marriage and birth of children, in support of a claim for an old age pension; and, if so, why this evidence, tested and accepted by the Coole Pension Committee, in Mrs. Peppard's case has been rejected by the Board?


As I have already informed the hon. Member, the Local Government Board have regard to all evidence of age submitted to them in connection with old age pension appeals, but it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules as to the type of evidence that could be accepted as satisfactory in all cases, as each case must be dealt with on its merits. As regards Mrs. Peppard's claim, I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given to his previous question on this subject.


May I ask whether the Local Government Board is making any inquiry in this case?


We have made inquiry. If there is any further point I shall be glad to answer it.


asked the Chief Secretary whether the pension officer, before appealing against the old age pension granted by the Coole Committee to Mrs. Julia Peppard, or the Local Government Board before disallowing the pension, had searched the Census Returns, or have searched them since; if no evidence adverse to the claim has been found there, will he say what evidence is before the Board to displace that tested and accepted by the Coole Committee; and, since age and poverty entitled to a pension even a person unable to give technical evidence, whether the pension will now be allowed in this case?


The Census Records were searched for evidence of age in Mrs. Peppard's case, but without result. It devolves on claimants for old age pensions to furnish satisfactory proof of age, and, as I have already informed the hon. Member, Mrs. Peppard was unable to do so.

51. Mr. FLAVIN

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that pension officers in Ireland have for some time past estimated the cost of living at 12s. 6d. per week in the cases of aged applicants for an old age pension; whether he can say by what means or method of calculation is the sum of 12s. 6d. arrived at; whether he is aware that the average working man in Ireland has in most cases to support himself, a wife, and large family on a smaller sum per week than 12s. 6d.; and, if so, how can he justify the pension officers' estimate of 12s. 6d. per week for the support. of an aged man or woman, which amount debars them from a pension?


It is the practice of pension officers, both in Ireland and elsewhere, to estimate such value according to the actual facts in each case, and not at 12s. 6d. per week or any other arbitrary sum. In Ireland the amount arrived at on this basis is rarely anything like so high as 12s. 6d. a week.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say how workmen in Ireland, with wives and families averaging eight in number, are to support them on 8s. a week, when the pension officer fixes the amount at 12s. 6d.?


The hon. Member asks whether it is the practice to take 12s. 6d. a week. It is not the practice in Ireland or elsewhere, and in Ireland, as the hon. Member states, the figures are much lower than that.