§ Captain BOURNE
asked the Minister of Health the total cost of administering the Blind Persons Aid Act, 1920; the amounts actually paid to blind persons under this Act and the total number of blind persons registered; whether any blind persons claiming a pension at 50 years of age have been refused a pension on the grounds of income or earnings or otherwise; and what is the total cost of administering the Blind Persons Act, 1926?36W
The cost of administering the Blind Persons Act, 1920, in England and Wales falling on the Exchequer and the local authorities amounts at the present time to about £650,000 per annum. This is exclusive of the large amounts spent by voluntary agencies for the purposes of the Act, and of the contributions made by the Exchequer and the local education authorities for the education and training of the blind. It is not possible to state the amounts actually paid to blind persons under the Act. The total number of registered blind persons in England and Wales on the 31st March, 1927, was 46,822. Of these there were 17,232 between the ages of 50 and 70, of whom 14,563 were in receipt of Blind Old Age Pensions. The remaining 2,669 were presumably in receipt of means in excess of those permitted under the Old Age Pension Acts, or did not satisfy some other condition laid down by those Acts for the receipt of a pension. With regard to the last part of the question, I assume that my hon. and gallant Friend is referring to the Wireless Telegraphy (Blind Persons Facilities) Act, 1926. Any question as to the cost of administering that Act should be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Postmaster-General.