§ Sir JOHN LONSDALE
asked the Secretary to the Treasury, if he will state for England and Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, respectively, the amount required to pay old age pensions and the expenses of pensions committees for the year ending 31st March, 1913?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
The hon. Member will find an estimate of the amount required in the financial year 1912–13 in Class VI. of the Civil Service Estimates, which was circulated on the 19th instant. The total of £12,200,000 there given may be roughly allocated as follows:—
England and Wales … £8,299,000 Scotland … 1,237,000 Ireland … 2,664,000
§ Mr. GODFREY LOCKER-LAMPSON
asked the Chancellor whether he can give any estimate of the approximate number of old age pensioners in Ireland at the end of five, ten, and fifteen years?
§ Mr. MASTERMAN
I have no materials-for framing any reliable estimate of the numbers for which the hon. Member asks.
§ Mr. KEATING
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether his attention has been called to a resolution of the Thomas-town sub-committee of the Kilkenny county pension committee, protesting against the hardship caused to old age pensioners obliged by illness to go temporarily into the local infirmary or hospital by the stoppage of their pension, under the recent amending Old Age Pensions Act, before the question is entertained by the committee, and calling attention to one typical case of a pensioner who on leaving the infirmary had, through the stoppage of his pension, to return to the workhouse as an ordinary inmate, thus incurring fresh disqualification for the pension, and being thrown unfairly for support on the ratepayers though able, if paid the pension, to support himself outside the workhouse; whether he is aware that the matter of old age pensions relatively to hospital treatment is exciting dissatisfaction in many different parts of Ireland; and whether he will take steps to ascertain the views of the responsible local authorities, and make such changes in the administration of the Old Age Pensions Acts in this respect as will meet the reasonable demands of the old age pensioners themselves and of the ratepayers' representatives?869W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
A resolution to the effect indicated in the question has been received. No promise of further legislation on the subject can be given.
§ Mr. BOLAND
asked the Chief Secretary whether he will have further investigation made into the claim for an old age pension made by Charles M'Carthy, Renroe, Emlaghmore, near Caherciveen, county Kerry.
§ Mr. BIRRELL
This claim was disallowed by the Local Government Board on appeal on 1st January, and they have no power to re-open consideration of the case.
§ Mr. BOLAND
asked on what grounds an old age pension has been refused to Mrs. Mary Griffin, Old Road, Caherciveen, whose claim has been frequently approved by the local pension committee?
§ Mr. FETHERSTONHAUGH
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that John Wilson, of Knockmanoul, county Fermanagh, claimed an old age pension in September, 1910, and was recommended by the pension officer for a pension of 3s. a week, and that on such recommendation his case was considered by the pension committee of the county Fermanagh, who knew his circumstances and the house and locality in which he lived, and who decided that he was entitled to a full pension of 5s. a week; is he aware that this decision was reversed on appeal by the pension officer against the granting of a higher pension than 3s., when the Local Government Board decided that his yearly means exceeded £31 10s., and that he was not therefore entitled to any pension; had the Board before it that the claimant's only means were £100 in the bank at 2½ per cent., and his free support and residence in the house of a relative, who is a farmer; on what basis did the Local Government Board decide that his support and residence in an ordinary farmer's house were value for over £29 10s. a year, in face of the opinion of the pension officer who visited the claimant and saw his residence and knew the ordinary circumstances of his living; is he aware that in the month of December last Wilson applied for a review of the decision and was again disqualified on the same grounds; and will he state what system of valuation the Board adopt in such cases as to value of board and residence?870W
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts are as set out in the question, except that it should be stated that John Wilson's recent claim was in the first instance disallowed by the Fermanagh county pension committee, and subsequently by the Local Government Board on appeal. In disallowing Mr. Wilson's first claim the Board had before them a report from one of their inspectors who visited claimant, and it appears that the farm in question comprises sixty acres of land, of which twenty-five acres were under tillage, and the remainder were being used for grazing. On the farm the inspector found eleven cows, eleven yearlings, seven calves, two horses, one foal, four pigs, and a hundred fowl. The house is a very commodious and neatly furnished residence, and the total valuation of the house and land is £86. Taking these circumstances into consideration, in conjunction with the fact that the claimant had £100 standing to his credit in the bank, the Board could not regard him as entitled to any pension.
§ Mr. O'MALLEY
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether the pension officers in the Clifden, Roundstone, and Spiddle districts of Connemara are able to speak the Irish language; and, if not, will he recommend the replacement of these officers by men who have a knowledge of the language, which is spoken almost exclusively by the claimants for old ago pensions?