HC Deb 22 February 1917 vol 90 cc1448-50
14. Mr. LUNDON

asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether, in view of the number of old age pensioners in Ireland who have been denied the extra 2s. 6d., he will have any objection to meeting a deputation from the Irish public bodies and representatives of the Irish party with a view to the mitigation of the hardship which exists as far as the poor people referred to are concerned?


If the hon. Member will communicate with me privately, I will endeavour to meet the wish expressed in the question.


asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether inspectors under the Old Age Pensions Acts are instructed to inquire, in the case of a claimant entitled by age and circumstances, into the nature and value of the meals given to the claimant by one who employs him casually at odd jobs pending the acquisition of the pension; whether such instruction is acted upon in this country; and, if the charitable employer gives good meals, whether this fact bars or reduces the pension to which the claimant would otherwise be entitled?


Under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1911, which is equally applicable to each part of the United Kingdom, account must be taken in estimating the means of a claimant to an old age pension of the "yearly value of any benefit or privilege enjoyed by that person," and the question whether the enjoyment of free meals would affect a claimant's right to a pension would be a matter for the determination of the local pension committee according to the facts of each particular case, subject to the right of appeal on the part of either the pension officer or the claimant to the Local Government Board. The pension officer must, of course, ascertain all the relevant facts, so that the pension committee may be in possession of the information necessary to enable them to adjudicate on the claim.


The hon. Gentleman has not answered the question on the Paper, whether the pension officer is empowered to issue this document inquiring the nature of the meals given gratuitously by the member of the pension committee to an applicant, and whether, if this gentleman gives good meals, it will lessen or destroy the chances of the man to get a pension?


I think if the hon. Member reads the answer I have given, and it is a rather lengthy one, he will find it covers the whole ground.