HC Deb 31 May 1938 vol 336 cc1822-3
44. Mr. Stephen

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will consider calling a conference of representatives of friendly approved societies in Scotland to discuss the hardships of old age and widow pensioners, the various anomalies in the Pensions Acts, and the possibility of arriving at agreed proposals for increasing the rate of pension and removal of present restrictions?

Mr. Colville

Approved societies are not concerned in the administration of the Pensions Acts. I do not think, therefore, that a conference such as that suggested by the hon. Member would serve any useful purpose.

Mr. Stephen

Is the Secretary of State aware that cruel hardship is imposed upon aged people and widows? Is their only hope of amelioration a change of Government?

Mr. Colville

I do not agree with the hon. Member. The question asks for a conference of particular societies, and I have pointed out that they do not have any functions in connection with this matter.

Mr. Stephen

Is the Secretary of State prepared to take any steps in order to provide for the amelioration of the hardships which are imposed by the inadequacy of the pension?

Mr. Buchanan

Is not the Secretary of State aware that approved societies have a great deal to do with the administration in so far as they determine a person's right to an old age pension, and, in view of that fact, would it not be as well to call this conference together?

Mr. Gallacher

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that every organisation in Scotland is in favour of steps being taken in this direction?