§ Mr. HIGHAM
asked if the decision can now be given in the case of the old age pension claim of Ellen Wilson, Local Government Board No. 6514 pension, 1910, which was put forward in January last.2512W
§ Sir JOHN JARDINE
asked the Lord Advocate whether he is aware that the town council of Melrose, in its capacity of old age local pension committee for the burgh, has been obliged to consider the delays that have ensued there in the disposal of applications for pensions; and whether he will cause inquiry to be made with a view to quicker settlement?
§ Mr. HOBHOUSE
I have caused inquiry to be made in this case, and find that such delays as have occurred are not attributable to the fault of the pension officer concerned, but to the extreme pressure of work. Steps have been taken to ensure more expeditious disposal of old age pension claims in future.
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he is aware that the Excise staff in Birmingham is at the present time, and has been continuously since the inauguration of the Old Age Pensions Act, seriously overworked; that although the volume of work is considerably greater, yet the number of officials is less than before the introduction of the Act referred to; and whether he will consider the advisability of allowing outside clerical assistance, as is done in the clerical branch of the same service, by the employment of superannuated officials, in order that the pressure of work may be somewhat relieved?
§ Mr. LLOYD GEORGE
The staff of the Birmingham Collection was reduced when the old age pension work was substituted for the establishment licence work, because the net volume of work was thereby decreased. It was found that the consequent arrangement was pressing unduly on the officers at certain stations, and the work was accordingly equalised by a rearrangement of last April. The passing of the Finance Bill has thrown additional work on the staff, and if this work proves to be anything more than temporary, any necessary relief will be given; but this will be done by employing men now in the service, and not by the re-employment of superannuated officials.
§ Mr. CROSFIELD
asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has 2513W been called to the fact that many applicants for old age pensions, in cases where it has been necessary to produce certificates of birth, have not been informed of the fact that such certificates may be obtained free of charge on application to Somerset House; and if he will give instructions that a note to this effect shall be printed on the form of claim to pension for the information of applicants?