§ 26. Mr. RAMSDEN
asked the Minister of Health the number of pensions which have been awarded to widows and orphans up to the end of June?
Up to the end of June the figures for England, Scotland and Wales were 148,897 widows' pensions covering, with children's allowances, about 420,000 persons and 13,505 orphans' pensions.
It is considerably less than the Estimate we had originally been given of the number, but the claims are still coming in.
§ Mr. B. PETO
Will the right hon. Gentleman consider making some further provision for the many exceptionally hard cases?
§ 30. Mr. BARKER
asked the Minister of Health if he has received the resolutions passed by the Association of Approved Insurance Societies at the annual conference on 4th and 5th June, 1926, requesting the Government to abolish the means limit in every case under the Old Age Pensions Act, and to establish the principle that insurance under the Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act shall be open to all persons on equal terms; and will he introduce legislation at an early date to give effect to these principles?
I have not received the resolutions referred to in the first part of the question. The answer to the second part is in the negative.
§ Mr. TOWNEND
Will the right hon. Gentleman be prepared to extend the period in which voluntary contributors can take advantage of the scheme, in accordance with the reply he gave on 30th March to a question in my name?
§ 29. Mr. WOMERSLEY (for Mr. SMEDLEY CROOKE)
asked the Minister of Health what amount has been saved in rates during the first six months of the operation of The Widows', Orphans' and Old Age Contributory Pensions Act, 1925; and how much, approximately, he is expecting will be saved in rates during the next six months by the operation of that part of the Act giving full old age pension irrespective of means?
According to returns which I received from boards of guardians in England and Wales in respect of the period to 27th March last the direct saving to the poor rates by reason of the grant of pensions and allowances under the Contributory Pensions Act was at the rate of £1,768,000 per annum. When account is taken of the saving in Scotland, the total figure may be taken at approximately £2,000,000 per annum. As regards the second part of the question, I expect that there will be a further substantial saving but materials are not at present available on which a reliable estimate can be based.
§ Mr. TAYLOR
Does the Minister desire to effect further savings in the rates by an additional tax on wages?