25 MARCH 1899, Page 2

On Wednesday Mr. Sidney Holland's Old-Age Pensions Bill was made

the occasion for an important announcement by Mr. Chamberlain. After Easter a Select Committee will be appointed to consider the problem. Mr. Chamberlain reviewed the whole subject, and discussed the difficulties. He is of opinion that a. universal scheme of pensions at sixty- five is utterly impossible Cir financial reasons, and undesirable because it treats the undeserving and the deserving on an equal footing. The proper way to approach the problem was in sections and piecemeal,—as had been done already in the case of civil servants, policemen, and school teachers. Mr. ChaMberlain ended by a plea for classification of paupers. The Government would not rest satisfied till they had done something in the matter. We still hold that the Spectator scheme of pensions at seventy-five is the best plan yet pat forward. It helps the friendly societies in the best way, and so encourages thrift, and it would call forth a great deal of voluntary effort to provide pensions in the period between failure of physical powers and seventy-five. The financial burden would be small, and the scheme, if it worked well, could easily be extended.