§ Mr. DORIS
asked the Chief Secretary whether he is aware that the Louisburgh, county Mayo, sub-pension committee have repeatedly granted an old age pension to Patrick Kerrigan, Fallduff, which has been disallowed on appeal by the Local Government Board on the grounds that there was no evidence that he had attained the statutory age; whether he is aware that, failing to obtain any record of the family in the Census Return claimant produced statutory declarations from three respectable neighbours, aged eighty-three, eighty, and seventy-seven years, respectively, that they knew him since his boyhood and that he is at least seventy-two years old; and whether the Local Government Board, before deciding a new claim by Kerrigan, will direct an inspector to interview him and his witnesses and report upon their evidence as to claimant's age?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The facts generally are as stated in the question, but the declarations referred to could not be considered sufficiently conclusive to warrant the Local Government Board in deciding that claimant had reached the statutory age. As the claim has been decided, the Board have no power to reopen consideration of the case, but in the event of a new1314W claim being made they would be in a position to consider whether it would be of any benefit to have a local investigation made by one of their inspectors.
§ Mr. LUNDON
asked the Chief Secretary whether the claim of Denis Leahy, of Galbally, county Limerick, to a pension was disallowed by the Local Government Board solely on the recommendation of the pension officer, who is a complete stranger in the district; and on what particular grounds does ho state that Leahy is not seventy years, in view of the opinion of the local clergy of both denominations as well as the medical officer and several old persons in the locality that applicant is beyond seventy, and of the fact that they are the best judges owing to the length of time they have known Leahy?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The claim in question was not disallowed solely on the recommendation of the pension officer, but because the claimant was unable to furnish to the Local Government Board sufficient evidence to warrant them in concluding that he had reached the statutory age. As I have frequently pointed out, the onus lies on the claimant to prove that he is seventy years of age and not upon the pension authorities to disprove it.
§ Mr. HOGGE
asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he will state the number of old age pensioners in the City of Edinburgh and the yearly cost of the pensions paid to them during the last administrative year; whether he will state the decrease in the number of persons over 70 years of age receiving indoor and outdoor relief in the city since the Old Age Pensions Act came into operation; and what has been the consequent saving in expenditure to the city?
Mr. McKINNON WOOD
The number of pensioners in the Burgh of Edinburgh on the last Friday in March, 1912, was 4,838, and the cost for 1911–12 is estimated at approximately £60,900. The decrease in the number of persons over seventy in the receipt of indoor and outdoor relief since 1909 is 121 and 475, as at 15th January, and 67 and 393 as at 15th September, respectively. It is not possible for me to state precisely the saving in expenditure to the city through old age pensions, as other causes must also be taken into account, but I will make further inquiry to ascertain whether the parish council have formed any estimate or can give me further figures.