§ Sir W. RUTHERFORD
asked the Pensions Minister whether his attention has been called to the case of Mary Jane Riddick, of 9, Mount Vernon Street, Liverpool, a respectable widow, seventy-five years of age, who has resided all her life 1321W in that same neighbourhood; whether he is aware that this poor widow had an only child, William Riddick, who was a gunner, No. 228745, in D/59 Battery, Royal Field Artillery, and was killed on the 2nd April, 1918, by an enemy bomb whilst doing his duty in France, and buried at Chocques in the British military cemetery; whether he is aware that Mrs. Riddick lost her husband some years ago, and, by the death of her son, has been left alone in the world, and that her old age pension, which she had been receiving since she attained the age of seventy, has now been taken from her on the ground that her pension in respect of her dead son is 12s. 6d. per week, whereas, if such pension had been a trifle loss, she would still have been entitled to the old age pension; and whether he is aware that, on applying to the local pensions authorities, she was visited and told slip ought to be content with the 12s. 6d. a week, and ought to sell up her little home and go into lodgings?
§ Sir J. CRAIG
The pension of 12s. 6d. awarded by the Ministry to Mrs. Riddick represents the extent of pre-war dependence. Inquiries are, however, being made with a view to a possible increase of the pension on the ground of pecuniary need. My right hon. Friend is not responsible for the Regulations governing the award of old age pensions. He has ascertained that the statement referred to in the latter part of the question was not made by or on behalf of the local war pensions committee.
§ Mr. BALDWIN
I have no information as to some of the details referred to in the question, but I am informed that, on the admitted facts, Mrs. Riddick is not, under the existing Old Age Pensions Acts, entitled to an old age pension. As my hon. Friend no doubt knows, the question of the limits of means for a pension is now under consideration by a Committee which is inquiring into the Old Age Pensions Acts generally.