§ 48. Mr. J. SAMUEL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to alter the regulations governing the granting of old age pensions, so that where houses granted rent free and coals free given by workmen's organisations, such as the Durham Miners and Employés, that such gifts shall not count against the recipients during the War and six months afterwards; and will he provide that the inmates shall receive the full 5s. per week owing to the increased cost of living in order that the above advantages may not be deducted from their pension?
§ Mr. BALDWIN (Lord of the Treasury)
The object desired by the hon. Member could not be attained by altering the regulations, but would require an amendment of the law.
§ 55. Mr. YEO
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether, seeing that the number of old age pensioners entitled to the full 2s. 6d. promised is so large and the minority ruled out by the Regulations so small, he will consider the advisability of granting the payment of 2s. 6d. to all old age pensioners?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave yesterday to the hon. Member for the Houghton-le-Spring Division of Durham.
56. Mr. CHANCELLOR
asked the Secretary to the Treasury if he is aware that old age pensions committees have in many 441 instances resented the manner in which the rules and regulations governing old age pensions have been interpreted by pension officers, and have appealed against their decisions, especially with reference to the additional 2s. 6d., and that time and difficulty could have been avoided by a universal payment of 2s. 6d. to such as are not benefited by other concessions, seeing that every old age pensioner passed an exacting examination previous to his receipt of the pension he now receives; and whether he proposes to take any action in the matter?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
In reply to the first part of the question, I may say that no evidence is before the Treasury that pension committees have resented the action of pension officers. The responsibility of deciding whether claimants are entitled to old age pensions or are proper subjects for the grant of additional allowances rests not with the pension officers, but with the pension committees themselves, and where an appeal lies to the Local Government Board it is an appeal not by the Committee, but by the claimant or the officer against the committee's decision. As regards the last part of the question, I would refer to the reply which I gave yesterday to my hon. Friend the Member for the Houghton-le-Spring Division.
§ 58. Mr. YEO
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether a number of Poor Law authorities approached the Board last year, asking for powers to supplement old age pensions to avoid the coming of pensioners under the ordinary disqualification of the Poor Law; and if such powers were, or will be, given to such as are refused the 2s. 6d. grant, and are compelled to seek the aid of the Poor Law in consequence?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Hayes Fisher)
Prior to the decision of the Government last year to make addi- 442 tional allowances to old ago pensioners, a number of resolutions on this subject were forwarded to the Local Government Board-by boards of guardians. The Poor Law disqualification could not be removed except by amendment of the Old Age Pensions Acts, and this would be a matter for the consideration of my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer.
§ 60. Mr. A. WILLIAMS
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he can say how many applications have been made by old age pensioners for the additional grant of 2s. 6d. a week, specifying male and female pensioners separately; in how many cases grants of 6d., 1s., 1s. 6d., 2s. and 2s. 6d., respectively, have been made; and the total amount paid in such additional grants up to 1st January, 1917?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
The figures up to the end of the year 1916 (the latest date for which figures are available), are as follows:—
|No. of applications received||669,574|
|No. of allowances payable at 2s. 6d.||457,591|
|No. of allowances payable at 2s.||20,677|
|No. of allowances payable at 1s. 6d.||15,204|
|No. of allowances payable at 1s.||15,305|
|No. of allowances payable at 6d.||5,536|
§ Separate figures for male and female pensioners are not available. The total amount paid in additional allowances up> to the 1st January, 1917, is about £480,000.
§ 61. Mr. A. WILLIAMS
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he can say how many applications for old age pensions have been refused since the commencement of the War up to 1st January, 1917, giving each year separately.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
Figures cannot be given for the actual period since the beginning of the War, but the following figures will, I hope, serve my hon. Friend's purpose.
The number of applications refused between 31st March, 1914, and 31st December, 1916, were as follows:—
|For the year ended 31st March, 1915||26,380|
|For the year ended 31st March, 1916||23,698|
|For the three quarters ended 31st December, 1916||17,366|