55. Mr. FOOT MITCHELL
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he is aware that Mr. J. J. Wilson and his wife, of Lamarsh, Essex, though over 70, are not granted their old age pensions because they have not been in this country 2237 as yet 12 years after attaining the age of 50; that they could not return from Canada during the War because the authorities would not allow them to do so; and that such prohibition was introduced by the supreme naval and military authorities during the War; and whether, in view of this official action, these two people will be credited with the years during which they were compelled to remain in Canada and could not return home to qualify for their pensions?
One of the conditions imposed by law for the receipt of an old age pension by a natural-born British subject is that he has, since attaining the age of 50, had his residence in the United Kingdom for an aggregate period of not less than 12 years. Mr. and Mrs. Wilson do not satisfy this condition, and, consequently, their claims to old age pension have been disallowed. There is no power to adopt the suggestion made by the hon. Member.
As this is a case which entails very great hardship, and le one of an extremely peculiar character, will the hon. Gentleman consent to give it some further consideration?
Yes, I quite agree with both the hon. Members that there is hardship, but this would entail a change in the law, and, of course, I could not make a statement on that at the moment.