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Some Facts about State Pensions.

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Some Facts about State Pensions. (By A FERNDALE CHECKWEIG HER). Of the various progressive enactments passed by the present Government, it is, perhaps, their Old Age Pensions Act which has brought the enemies of social reform into the open and shown the working men how insincere are the pro- mises and protestations of friendship made by speakers at club and other ticket meetings. Speaking on the Pension Bill, Mr. Balfour said: "I look forward with much misgiving to the methods by which the Government are attempting to carry out the objects of this Bill. I regret the hasty course which the Government has taken, but the responsibility must lie with them." Lord Cromer asked that in times of national emergency, when all patriotio men cry out for these lost mil- lions," the responsibility for the creation of so sombre a situation" and for" the introduction of this financial resolution should be placed on the right shoulders. Lord Avebury said the Bill would in- volve an immense increase of taxation, perpetuate poverty, lower wages, and dis- courage thrift." But what said Lord Rosebery ? Surely the moment is ill- chosen for undertaking this vague experi- ment, so prodigal an expenditure," &c. and now that Mr. Lloyd George has dis- closed the means by which he proposes to meet the cost of this beneficent scheme, and to further extend its provisions to those poor souls who have been forced to approach the relieving officer before they reached the qualifying age of three-score years and ten, the last-quoted noble croaker denounces the whole scheme as Socialism, and sadly warns us that "Socialism is the end of all things." Lest some of my fellow-workers should be deluded by these false prophets into thinking that the granting of State pen- sions is a new thing in our country, I will venture to submit some few instances to show that such is not the case. Many people are at present receiving, and have for many years received, State pensions, though they are not of the old age or five shillings a week variety. ARMY, NAVY AND CIVIL SERVICE PENSIONS. In the year 1905.6, the amount paid to 171,815 Army, Navy and Civil Service pensioners was 97,903,369, the annual average per person being as follows: — Military, £ 34 per year; Naval, £50 per year; and Civil. Service, C94 per year. This may be as it should be, but there are others." In an article written about two years ago, Mr. George N. Barnes, M.P., stated that "fourteen politicians had, under the Political Offices Pension Act of 1869, drawn tIO8,315 4s. 8d. and that two ex-Speakers of the House of Commons are at present enjoying pen- sions of zC4,000 per year each for ser- vices which, however important they may have been, certainly do not seem to nave tended to shorten the lives of those who rendered them. It may interest my readers if I review the services rendered by some of these POLITICAL PENSIONERS, together with the salary paid them whilst rendering those services. Lord Balfour of Burleigh was Secretary for Scotland, with a seat in the Cabinet, and a salary of R2,000 a year, from 1895 to 1903. Now, at the age of 60, he draws a pension of £ 1,200 per year. Mr. Gerald Balfour, during the last Tory Administration, acted as President of the Local Govern- ment Board (salary L2,000 per year), Chief Secretary for Ireland (salary £4,425 per year), and President of the Board of Trade (salary £2,000 per year). For these services he got a pension of £ 1,200 per year. He is now aged 55, or 15 years below pension age. Mr. Henry Chaplin has filled the various offices of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, President of the Board of Agriculture, and President of the Local Government Board, with a salary in each office of £2,000 a year. He was awarded a pension of tl,20,0 a year, and is now aged 67. During Lord Salisbury's two Govern- ments, Lord George Hamilton was paid £ 4,500 per year as First Lord of the Admiralty, and afterwards- became Secre- tary of State for India at a salary of C5,000 per year. He was given a pension of £ 2,000 per year, his present age being 63. Sir John Gorst has been Solicitor- General at an annual salary of £ 6,000 and fees, Treasury Secretary with LC2,000 per year salary, and Under-Secretary for India at a salary of £ 1,500 per year. He also got his pension of £1,200, per year. Whilst I do not suggest that these gentlemen have not earned their pen- sions, and do not desire that they should be asked any awkward questions as to whether their income from all sources exceeds £ 81 10s. per year, or whether they have ever habitually failed to work according to their ability, opportunity, &c., I still think they might abstain from prating of the injurious effects of medicine which has agreed so well with them, when it is proposed to apply it to the deserving poor, who only get their (weekly) crown when they have borne their cross for 70 long years of toil. But if I may claim your indulgence, Mr. Editor, I will end by dealing briefly with a more indefen- sible kind of pension than any yet named. We can agree to grant war pensions to officers and men who serve their country on the field of battle, but we fail to see the reasonableness of paying PENSIONS IN PERPETUITY to descendants of those warriors who are born scores, and in some cases hundreds, of years after the. pension was earned. John Church: first Duke of Marl- borough, was awarded a pension of £4,0,00 Per year, for himself and his heirs for ever. Up to 1884, the nation had paid the Marlborough family. £ 780,000 in re- spect of that pension. It was then com- muted for a lump sum of £ 107,780. The present Earl Nelson, although not even directly descended from the hero of Trafalgar, is now drawing- a perpetual pension of £ 5,000 a year for services ren- dered by the first holder of the title. ) Lord Rodney draws a perpetual pension of £ 2,000 per year for an ancestor's; bravery; while the Duke of Norfolk, with a rent roll of over E100,000 a year, drew until lately a. pension of 16s. a week for an ancestor's gallantry on the Field of Flodden. The country had paid L16,000 in respect of that pension when the present Duke consented to take the sum of E800 in commutation. The Duke of Wellington was awarded a three-life annunity of L5,000, which was, however, commuted by the Iron Duke during his lifetime for £ 400,000. The hero of the Indian Mutiny, Sir Colin Campbell, was made Lord Clyde and given a pension of £2,000 per annum; and General Sir Robert Napier got a similar pension for his capture of Magdala, being also made a Field Marshal and raised to the peerage. Among other recipients of war pensions granted to themselves or their ancestors are Viscount Hardinge, E3,00,0 per year Lord Seaton, £2,000 per year; Lord Raglan, 92,000 per year; and Viscount Gough, E2,000 per year. But the crowning absurdity of all is the selling or HAWKING OF PERPETUAL PEN- SIONS. About ten or twelve years ago, the Bank of England bought from the descendants of one Lord Danverkerque a perpetual pension of C2,000 per year which was granted to that nobleman in 1694. The Bank has since received a lump sum in partial commutation, but is now drawing, and will continue to draw for ever unless we buy them out, a reduced pension of E376 a year. Who shall now say that the pensioning of industrial veterans is a prodigal, revo- lutionary and Socialistic innovation? Cer- tainly not the miners of the Rhondda.

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