21. Mr. ROBINSON
asked the Minister of Health if it is proposed to make provision for the payment of widow's pension to aged women whose husbands, insured persons, were over 70 years of age at the commencement of the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, and who have been refused pension on the ground that they have not been left with children under the age of 14 at the death of the husband: and if he can state the estimated number of women aged 60 or more whose husbands were 70 years of age prior to 4th January, 1926?
§ 25. Mr. R. MORRISON
asked the Minister of Health whether an old age pensioner who removes to Guernsey loses his pension?
§ 29. Mr. WELLOCK
asked the Minister of Health what was the amount of the surplus at the end of March on the Widows' and Old Age Pensions Fund; how this compares with the Government's actuarial forecast; and what the Government proposes to do with the balance, if any?
The estimated balance of the Treasury Pensions Account at the 31st March, 1929, was £42,700,000. This, however, is not a surplus but a provision for the excess of benefits over receipts which is expected in every year from 1929 onwards. The actuarial report on the Bill of 1925 contained no forecast of the balance of the Account in particular years, but the Act provides for a further actuarial investigation in 1935.
§ Mr. BATEY
We have got here a huge balance. Cannot we ask the Minister to do something in order to use up this balance? We brought in a Bill and the Minister objected to it; otherwise, this balance would have been used. Cannot we ask him whether he will now bring in a Bill in order to give the old age pension to women whose husbands reached the age of 70 before 2nd January, 1923?
I would like to make a further effort to explain to the hon. Member that this is not an available balance.
The hon. Member evidently does not understand the system under which the Old Age Pensions Act works. We have to accumulate a balance in order to provide for the benefits which will ensue hereafter, and for which no other provision is made. We cannot use that balance, which is ear-marked for that purpose, for an entirely different purpose.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Will the right hon. Gentleman not remove this injustice, having regard to the comparatively small cost involved?
§ 17. Mr. GREENE
asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider the advisability of amending the Widows', Orphans', and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, with the view of freeing employers from the necessity of paying contributions in respect of employés of over 70 years of age who have not been insured under the said Act and who are engaged generally out of sympathy, and whose dismissal in most cases would not provide employment for younger men?
The answer is in the negative. Employers are required to pay contributions in these cases in order that there may not be any inducement to them to give preference for employment to any particular class of persons by reason of their age. In any event I am afraid that it would be impracticable to make the liability of the employer for the payment of contributions in respect of an employé over the age of 70 depend on whether the latter had or had not been insured under the Contributory Pensions Act, 1025. As the law stands, the employer's liability is in effect automatically defined, the fact of employment carrying with it the obligation to pay a contribution if the employé is over the age of 16.