§ 40. Mr. BOWERMAN
asked the Prime Minister whether he is aware that old age pensions have sometimes to be refused to persons residing in the United Kingdom if previously they resided in some other part of the British Dominions; whether, in order to remove this hardship, he will introduce in the current Session legislation to provide that any such previous residence in any part of those Dominions shall, in the case of claimants resident in the United Kingdom, be regarded as residence in the United Kingdom; whether a similar hardship is involved in any old age pension scheme of any other of those Dominions; and, if so, whether he will communicate with the Dominion Governments concerned with a view to their extending favourable treatment on similar lines, mutatis mutandis, to persons residing in those Dominions who previously resided in the United Kingdom?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. One of the statutory conditions for the receipt of an old age pension by any person is that the person has had his residence in the United Kingdom—
subject to the proviso that periods of absence from the United Kingdom may in certain special circumstances (namely, service abroad under the Crown, etc.) be counted as residence in the United Kingdom. My right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer regrets that he does not see his way to introduce legislation in the current Session to provide that previous residence in any part of the British Dominions shall, in the case of claimants resident in the United Kingdom, be regarded as residence in the United Kingdom.
- (1) if a natural-born British subject, for an aggregate period of not less than 12 years since attaining the age of 50; and
- (2) if a naturalised British subject, for an aggregate period of 20 years,
The answer to the third part of the question is in the affirmative. I understand that under the Australian Old Age Pensions Act a person is not entitled to an old age pension unless he has resided in Australia for 20 years. As regards the last part of the question, my right hon. Friend is prepared to consider any proposals that may be made by the Dominion Governments concerned in the sense suggested.
§ Mr. DEVLIN
In considering this matter, will the hon. Gentleman see whether next Session there is any possibility of dealing with the whole of the recommendations of the Old Age Pensions Committee which sat last year?
§ 51. Mr. LYLE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury whether, in assessing the income of candidates for old age pensions, the Treasury takes into consideration, and if so, why, the assistance given to such claimants by friends on whom rests no legal liability to show such compassion and sympathy?
Assistance received by claimants to old age pensions from friends is required, by Section 2 (1) of the Old Age Pensions Act, 1911, to be 31 taken into account in calculating the means of the claimants for the purpose of determining the rate of pension (if any) to which they are entitled, notwithstanding that there is no legal liability on the friends to give such assistance.
§ Sir C. KINLOCH-COOKE
Is not this the same restriction as was applied in regard to pre-War pensioners, and does the hon. Gentleman not know it is exceedingly disliked by every one of them?
§ 54. Sir WALTER de FRECE
asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury how many British blind people over the age of 50 are now, by recent legislation, in receipt of old age pensions owing to their inability to follow their employment; what percentage of those over 50 is represented by such recipients; and whether, in all cases, steps are taken to bring it home to such blind persons that they are qualified for the pension if they fulfil the conditions?
On the 30th September last there were in the United Kingdom 12,633 blind persons in receipt of old age pensions under the provisions of Section 1 of the Blind Persons Act, 1920. In Great Britain the number was approximately 72 per cent. of the number of registered blind persons between the ages of 50 and 70. I regret that a percentage for Ireland is not available. With regard to the last part of the question, steps were taken to bring these provisions to the notice of all agencies and institutions for the blind, and a public notice appeared in the Press.
§ Mr. G. BARNES
Will the hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of having that notice posted in the offices?