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The Aged Poor Commission

Volume 32: debated on Thursday 25 April 1895

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I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether the Government has considered the various Reports made by members of the Royal Commission on the Provision for Old Age; and what action they propose to take in regard to this question?

(Mr. G. J. SHAW LEFEVRE, Bradford, Central)

The Reports of the Royal Commission on this important subject show very great difference of opinion among its Members. It appears, however, that a majority of them, in their separate Reports or Memoranda, are of opinion that further examination should be made of the various schemes for old age pensions, with the object of ascertaining whether the difficulties and objections which have been raised to them can be removed. In view of this the Government will take measures for a further examination of the matter, but they are not able at present to come to any final decision on the subject.

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether that portion of the Report which refers to friendly societies, and which will involve but a slight alteration of a non-controversial character in the law relating to friendly societies, has been considered by the Government?

That has not yet been considered by the Department concerned, but I will communicate with the Department, and I have no doubt that a communication will be made to the friendly societies.

I wish to say, in answer to my hon. Friend opposite, that the Treasury is about to introduce a Bill to amend the Friendly Societies Act, which will contain some of the recommendations of the Royal Commission.

May I ask does, it include such an alteration in the Act of 1870 as will enable juvenile societies to be merged in adult societies?

Can the right hon. Gentleman give any intimation of the time when he will be able to state definitely the measures the Government intend to take?

May I ask the right hon. Gentleman whether, whatever his Department may contemplate in connection with friendly societies, he will see that those societies have ample notice of what the Department intend to do?