§ 21. Mr. RAMSDEN
asked the Minister of Health the number of pensions awarded under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, to widows, giving the number of their dependants and also to orphans?
On the latest figures available, the number of pensions awarded to widows n England, Scotland and Wales is 170.159. These pensions include allowances for 269,100 children. The number of orphans for whom pensions have been awarded is 1[...],180.
If the hon. Member will give me notice of that question, I will have inquiries made.
§ 22. Mr. RAMSDEN
asked the Minister of Health the number of pensions awarded to persons over 70 years of age from 2nd July, 1926, up to date; and the number awarded in the corresponding period for the years 1924 and 1925?
Complete figures are not available for a date after 30th September, 1926. For the quarter ending on that dare, the number of new pensions awarded in England, Scotland and Wales to persons over 70 years of 1361 age was 95,397. The numbers for the corresponding quarter of the years 1925 and 1924 were 38,640 and 44,407. The figure for 1926 includes 83,331 pensions awarded by virtue of the Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, and in addition 13,288 existing pensions payable at reduced rates were brought up to the full rate.
§ Mr. T. WILLIAMS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware there are many applications from old age pensioners or people entitled to old age pensions which have been held up for two, three or even four months; and what is the reason for this delay.
§ 32. Mr. DREWE
asked the Minister of Health whether he will be prepared to grant an extension of time for making application to become a Voluntary contributor under the Widows' Orphans' and Old Age Pensions Insurance Scheme, in view of the fact that in some isolated areas the Regulations have not been fully understood?
As stated in the reply given to the hon. Member for Elland (Mr. W. C. Robinson) on the 25th November, the Regulations already provide for an extension of time up to the 2nd January next in particular cases. I am afraid, however, that the fact that a person lived in an isolated area would not in itself necessarily justify such an extension.
The staff newly recruited for the purposes of the administration of this Act, amounted to 538 on 19th November, 1925, and to 1,165 on 19th November, 1926.