§ 65. Mr. CLOUGH
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he has considered the application for an old age pension by M. A. M., No. 1406, the decision of the Skipton Pensions Com- 1940 mittee to grant this old woman the full pension of 5s. a week, and the appeal of the local pension officer that this claim cannot properly be allowed because in his opinion the yearly means exceed £31 10s., which debars the grant of any pension at all; whether he is aware that this applicant has been a widow for thirty years, is penniless, and is physically unfit to perform the lightest household duties, but, as she lives with her two daughters, the pension officer calculates that she is receiving for rent, coal, gas, and sundries 3s. 6d. per week, for clothing 1s. per week, and for food 8s. 6d. per week, or a total of 13s. per week; whether he has decided to uphold the decision of the local committee or to confirm the findings of the pension officer; and whether, in the event of his confirmation of the pension officer's report, he will explain how any applicant for an old age pension who happens to be provided with a shelter and with the bare necessaries of life at present-day prices can, under the Schedule of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908, succeed in being awarded the full pension of 5s. per week?
The claimant in this case is being maintained by two daughters, with whom she lives, and the pension subcommittee held that her yearly means were nil. The Local Government Board have been advised, however, that in estimating the means of a claimant to a pension account must be taken, under Section 2 (1) (d) of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1911, of the value of free board and lodging when received. The Board have decided that the value of the claimant's maintenance should be taken at 10s. a week, and have accordingly awarded an old age pension at the rate of 3s. a week, which will be payable from early in September last. The claimant will also receive an allowance of 2s. 6d. a week, in addition to the pension, under the scheme of the Treasury.
§ 66. Mr. CLOUGH
asked the President of the Locol Government Board whether, in view of the fact that the cost of the four-pound loaf has gone up from 5½d. in July, 1914, to 9¾d. in July, 1918, he can see his way to substitute £36 10s., £41 5s., £46, £50 15s., and £55 10s. for the £21, £23 12s. 6d., £26 5s., £28 17s. 6d., and £31 10s. in the Schedule of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1908; whether he can do this administratively or will it require legislation; and whether, if it requires legislation, he will forthwith introduce the measure necessary?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have been asked to reply to these questions. I would refer my hon. Friend to the answer which I gave on the 22nd ultimo to the Member for the Dublin Harbour Division.