§ 15. Mr. MARCUS
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware of the hardship caused to applicants for old age pensions in Scotland who, in cases of doubt, are obliged to produce their birth certificates in support of their claims and to pay fees for searching the registers or for extracts of certificates of birth; and whether he will take steps entirely to exempt such applicants from payment of fees?
§ Mr. JOHNSTON
While birth certificates already in the possession of claimants have been produced in support of the majority of the claims submitted to the Department of Health for Scotland for consideration under the Contributory Pensions Acts, and while applicants are asked to submit certificates to facilitate the investigation of their cases, they are under no obligation to do so and are not required to obtain duplicate certificates for the purpose. As regards the latter part of the question, it is in fact the Department's practice to arrange, free of cost to the applicant, for a search to be made in the available records for verification of the date of birth where satisfactory evidence has not been submitted with the claim. It is estimated that this course has been taken in about 25 per cent. of the cases in question.