§ Mr. CLYNES
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether he is aware that the cost of living has risen over 60 per cent., thus reducing the purchasing power of the 5s. old age pension to less than 2s 6d.; and whether he will consider the justice of allowing all pensioners not receiving the benefit of other concessions to receive the 2s. 6d. increase now granted only in certain cases?
§ Mr. BALDWIN
The existing scheme for the award of additional allowances to old age pensioners was designed to relieve the hardship caused by the rise in prices to which my hon. Friend refers. As I have already stated in reply to a number of recent questions, I am not prepared to go beyond that scheme.
§ Mr. H. LAW
asked the Secretary to the Treasury upon what ground the old age pension claim of John Friel, Knockna-bollin, Termon, county Donegal, has been refused, having regard to the fact that this man is disabled and has no means beyond the possession of a small farm valued at £4 per annum?
§ Mr. P. O'BRIEN
asked the Chief Secretary for Ireland whether he can state the exact means estimated by the Local Government Board for Ireland in the case of Thomas and Bridget Hickey, in Kilkenny, a married couple, who had applied to have their old age pensions raised from 3s. to 5s. per week; in view of the numerous well-known public circumstances since the outbreak of war adversely affecting the licensed trade, what evidence was relied on as outweighing the pensioners' statements that their son, a publican in the smallest way, with a wife and children, is no longer able to provide them with their support pursuant to a deed, that they receive only partial support from him, and could not exact their nominal legal rights; whether he is aware that it is well known locally that this aged couple are in necessitous circumstances; and, if a new application is made, whether he will arrange 811W with the Local Government Board to have the same investigated by the pension officer, new to the district, with freedom to report thereon unfettered by any previous decision and without attributing to the aged couple any means which they neither actually receive from their son nor could, without hardship to him and his wife and children dependants, enforce their nominal right to receive?
§ Mr. DUKE
The Local Government Board were not satisfied that the value of the maintenance of Thomas and Bridget Hickey, of Kilkenny, was less than 10s. a week. Before giving their decision the Board had the case specially investigated by one of their inspectors. The pension officers are not under the control of the Local Government Board.
§ Mr. CLYNES
asked the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether, in the case of old age pensioners being obliged to have recourse to the Poor Law in consequence of the rising cost of living, he will take steps to secure that such pensioners shall not be disqualified to receive the pension when better times return, or make a Grant so that Poor Law guardians can give relief in special cases as an increase to the pension?
§ Mr. HAYES FISHER
The disqualification for receiving or continuing to receive an old age pension by reason of poor relief only lasts as long as the pensioner is in receipt of such relief, and there is therefore no reason why on the return of better times he should not at once resume his old age pension.