HC Deb 22 April 1926 vol 194 cc1369-71
29. Mr. T. THOMSON

asked the Minister of Health whether the draft Regulations under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, governing excepted and exempted voluntary contributors, have been or will be so amended as to allow excepted and exempted voluntary contributors who are paying the full rate of contribution under the Act to receive full benefits equal to any other insured person?


The question of amending the draft Regulations in certain respects is under consideration, but I can give no undertaking that the effect of any amendment which may be made will be to give unreduced pensions to all voluntary contributors who were previously exempt or excepted persons.


Can the right hon. Gentleman say how soon it will be available?


I cannot say, but I do not think it will be very long.


asked the Minister of Health if his Department has taken any and, if so, what steps to inform existing and potential old age pensioners who were paying National Health Insurance on 29th April last year that from July next they will come under the provisions of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act?


A poster is exhibited at every post office drawing attention to the fact that as from the 2nd July next insured persons aged 70 and upwards will, subject to certain conditions, be entitled to old age pensions without any means test. In addition, arrangements have been made for the issue to every old age pensioner who is at present in receipt of a reduced pension on account of his means, of a form explaining the provisions of Section 20 of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, and giving him an opportunity of applying for an unreduced pension if he considers that he satisfies the conditions imposed by Section 20. Further publicity arrangements are under consideration.


Will the right hon. Gentleman see that the post offices have a sufficient number of these forms at a very early date?


Yes, Sir.


asked the Minister of Health whether, under Section 36 of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, which gives the Minister power to modify its provisions with the consent of the Treasury up to 31st December next, any modifications have in fact been made or are contemplated and, if so, whether they are published as soon as approved?


Two Orders have been made under the powers given by Section 36 of the Act—namely, Contributory Pensions (Special Order Acceleration) Order, 1925, dated 23rd December, 1925, and Contributory Pensions (Existing Widows and Orphans) Order, 1926, dated 8th January, 1926. In accordance with the usual practice these Orders were placed on sale as soon as they were approved, the references being S.R. & O. 1925, No. 1365 and S.R. & O. 1926, No. 97.