27 DECEMBER 1919, Page 3

The House of Commons on Friday week passed through all

its stages a Bill to increase old-age pensions to 108. a week for persons over seventy whose income from other sources does not exceed £31 10s. a year. The weekly pension was raised from 5s. to 7s. 6d. during the war. Mr. Boner Law in an apologetic speech said that the Cabinet, while not adopting all the recom- mendations of the Old Age Pensions Committee, felt that the old people should have another half-crown at once. The Minister of Labour thought that " it would have a quieting effect on the general unrest." The cost would be ten millions, but after all that was five millions less than the cost of the Committee's scheme. He would leave the House free to decide. As no one except Sir Frederick Banbury and Colonel Guinness had the courage to protest against such an entire disregard of the sound financial traditions of the House, the Bill was carried. We do not grudge the poor old people their half-crowns, but there was no reason whatever, except sheer levity and ineffi- ciency in Downing Street, for securing the new dole in this way. It is an evil precedent.