23 JANUARY 1909, Page 16


SIR,—You have opened your columns to the subject of the abuse of old-age pensions. What can we do to arrest the rapid demoralisation which is sure to follow P I am here on the business of a trust estate, and one question was the pensioning of two old servants,—gardener, aged seventy-eight, and his wife (once dairymaid), aged seventy-two. Though past work, their wages continue at the old rate, respectively £40 and £10, with cottage, coal, milk, vegetables, say 260-265 for the two, and with that they have been content and well paid as local wages go. Their mistress was proposing to pension them off, but is amazed and annoyed to find that the wife has been awarded an old-age pension of 3s. a week. This is quite contrary to the intention of the Act, which is surely not for those earning wages, and specifically "lumps" the family income. I imagine two solutions,—(1) local patriotism,

or .(2) false information, though the latter, as the locality is a remote Highland one, where every one's means are probably