§ 8. "That a Supplementary sum, not exceeding £418,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927, for the payment of Old Age Pensions, for certain Administrative Expenses in connection therewith, and for Pensions, under the Blind Persons Act, 1920."
§ 9. "That a sum, not exceeding £7,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1927, as a Grant-in-Aid of the mission of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of York to Australia and New Zealand."
§ First Seven Resolutions agreed to.
§ Eighth Resolution re ad a Second time.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House cloth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution."
§ 5.0 p.m.
§ Mr. A. V. ALEXANDER
I do not want to detain the House at any length on this point, but there was one point that was mentioned to the Financial Secretary in the Committee stage yesterday, and that was that many of us are receiving a good many inquiries from applicants, especially old age pension applicants, in consequence of the serious delay which arises in the examination of claims at the Head Office. I myself, in the last fortnight, a period covering our discussions on the Supplementary Estimate, have had a case which was for over six 1805 months under examination. The applicant for the pension was found to be in extreme poverty and although I am glad now to say that the matter has been cleared up and the pension granted, he had to draw arrears of £6 or £7 and in the meantime he was in very severe financial straits. We are very desirous of not opposing for the sake of opposing, but we are also very anxious that in the reply we should get the statutory view of the matter. I hope we may have some assurance from the Financial Secretary to the Treasury that the many delays in dealing with these claims will not be repeated in future.
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the TREASURY (Mr. Ronald McNeill)
All I can say in reply is that I think these delays are rare, and I have every hope that they will become very much rarer. But they are likely to occur if we get a new block of applicants, and it is quite impossible to be certain that there never will be a rather long delay, because cases will arise in regard to which it is extremely difficult to get all the necessary evidence that the applicant is eligible. But I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I will do all in my power to minimise the delays. I have had some cases brought to my personal notice, and I hope I have been able to facilitate matters somewhat. I can assure the hon. Member and the House that everything we possibly can do to eliminate delays of this sort will be done, because we realise that often such delays entail great hardship.
§ Question put, and agreed to.
§ Remaining Resolution agreed to.
§ REPORT (21sT FEBRUARY).
§ Resolutions reported,