§ Mr. LIVINGSTONE
asked the Minister of Pensions how many applications have been received under the widows', orphans, and old age contributory pensions scheme from the counties of Inverness, Argyll, Ross and Cromarty, Sutherland, Caithness, Orkney, and Shetland; how many of the applications have been granted; and how many have been in respect of widows and orphans and of aged persons?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I refer the hon. Member to my reply of to-day to my hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill (Mr. Couper).
§ Colonel ENGLAND
asked the Minister of Health whether his attention has been called to the case of a widow, aged 66, of a man aged 71, who died 27th January, 1926, and who had paid National Health Insurance contributions from the inception of the scheme up to attaining the age of 70, and who has been held not to be entitled to receive a widow's pension because she has no child under the age 2138W of 14; whether he is aware that, as the woman in question has never paid health insurance herself, she will not be entitled to receive the old age pension until she is 70 years of age; and whether he will consider an alteration in the Regulations to meet such cases?
Section 19 of the Act, which applies to the widow of a man who was over the age of 70 at the commencement of the Act, provides that the widow shall not be entitled to a pension unless at the death of her husband there was at least one child or stepchild under the age of 14. Any alteration in this Section could not be made by Regulation, but would require new legislation.
§ Mr. PETHICK-LAWRENCE
asked the Minister of Health whether, when he is noting omissions in the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act with a view to subsequent amendment, he will take into consideration the case of the illegitimate child whose father remains unidentified at the death of its mother who has been a contributor to the fund?
§ Mr. FENBY
asked the Minister of Health whether the children under 14 years of age, of an insured man who died two years ago, and whose widow married again one year ago, are given benefit under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925; and what section of the Act refers to such cases?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. Section 18 (c) of the Act provides that, in the case of the widow of a man who died before the date of the commencement of the Act, a widow's pension is not payable if she remarried before that date, and Section 1 (1) (a) makes the additional allowance for children part of the widow's pension.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
asked the Minister of Health the number of applications received from residents in the City of Lincoln, up to the latest convenient date, for widows' pensions, children's allowances, and orphans' pensions; whether he can state the number of persons in 2139W respect of whom widows' pensions, children's allowances, and orphans' pensions have been allowed; how many have been rejected; and how many are still under consideration?
The information asked for is not available, as the claims are not arranged on a territorial basis.
§ Mr. R. YOUNG
asked the Minister of Health the number of widows under the 1925 Act who have been refused pensions on the ground that the children of their deceased husbands were born before marriage; and whether it is proposed to take any steps in the near future to make the claims of such widows and children legal for the payment of pensions and allowances?
The information required to answer the first part of the question could only be obtained by an examination of all the individual cases where the award of pension has been refused, and the pressure of current pensions work precludes such an examination at the moment. The position will, of course, be materially changed under Section 44 (4) of the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, if the Legitimacy Bill becomes law.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
asked the Minister of Health if the wives of insured men whose husbands attain the age of 70 before 2nd January, 1928, are treated as eligible for an old age pension on attaining the age of 65 or over after 2nd January, 1928; and, if such women cannot so qualify but have to wait until they attain the age of 70, will he take steps to amend the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925, for the removal of this diqualification at the earliest possible date?
The answer to the first part of the question is in the negative. I cannot adopt the suggestion contained in the second part of the question, which conflicts with the underlying principle of the Act, namely, that the husband's insurance can secure a pension for his wife on attaining 65, only if he himself was entitled to a pension under the Act before he attained 70.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Minister of Health whether he has yet appointed referees or assessors in connection with the administration of the 2140W Widows' and Orphans' Pensions Scheme; if so, whether any of them are women; and whether he will give the names of those appointed?
I would refer the hon. Member to my answer on the 8th instant to a question by the hon. Member for Islington E. (Major Tasker) on this subject. The position has not changed in the interval. The referees who have been appointed are Mr. R. E. Vaughan-Williams, K.C., Mr. B. A. Cohen, K.C., and Mr. Eustace Hills, K.C.