« السابقةمتابعة »
The following is a list of the principal books and official publications dealing with the subject of old age and its provision.
" Pauperism and Endowment of Old Age." By CHARLES BOOTH. Macmillan,
1892. 6d. and 55. “Old Age Pensions and the Aged Poor." By CHAS. BOOTH. Macmillan, 1899. 60.
“The Aged Poor in England and Wales." By CHARLES BOOTH.
1894. Ss. 6d. net.
"The State and Pensions in Old Age." By J. A. SPENDER. Sonnenschein (Social
Science Series), 1892. 25. 6d.
By Rev. W. MOORE Ede.
" A National Pension Scheme."
The Humanizing of the Poor Law." By J. F. OAKESHOTT. Fabian Tract
No. 54. id. Reports from Her Majesty's Representatives in Europe on Assistance afforded to
the Provision of the Industrial Population for Old Age. C-6429 of 1891. zd.
Annual Reports of the Postinaster-General (54d.), Chief Labor Correspondent of
the Board of Trade (15. 47d.), and the Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies,
Part A (104d.).
Treasury Committee Report. C-8911 of 1898.
House of Commons Special Committee Report. 296 of 1889. 5d.
Board of Trade Report on Provision for Old Age in Certain European Countries.
C-9414 of 1899. 3d. · Old Age Pensions at Work." Fabian Tract No. 89. 6 for id.
The Problem of Old Age. Not less tragic than the position of the unemployed workman is that of the aged craftsman. The man who does not give the fullesi measure of work for his weekly wage is promptly discarded by an economic system depending upon alert competition for its existence. Fortunate it is that sixty per cent. do not live to be replaced by active, able-bodied, hopeful young workmen, and left desiitute. But a large minority meets this fate. Wages of men from forty-five years of age upwards, show a gradual and persistent decline.' The roughest forms of labor are the first to suffer ; but in skilled trades where deftness of handiwork is the first condition of efficiency and of continued employment, the attainment of fifty-five years of age is usually accompanied by a reduction of earnings. "The Bradford wearer has to abandon one of his two looms as he advances in years ; the Lancashire cotton-spinner, and the head-piecer who has never become a spinner, have to seek for work ir. mills where the machinery is older and does not run so rapidly ; the bricklayer is unable to lay as many bricks, and the compositor to set as many ens; the seamtress's sight fails; the dock-laborer, rheumatic through exposure to the weather, finds his place occupied by more vigorous competitors from the country villages. Besides, with old age come recurring and lengthy illnesses. Some idea of the extent to which such illness restricts wage earning capacity may be gathered from the fact that whereas the average member of the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows receives 145. 8d. per annum in sick allowance,* those members over sixty-five years of age receive £7.4s. 9d. each. Neison, in his " Rates of Mortality," estimates that adults between twenty and forty years of age experience one week's illness per annum ; between forty and sixty years, 2 1'o weeks per annum, and between sixty and seventy years, 6 weeks each year. The Friendly Society experience proves that while adult male members average 2'06 weeks' illness ai filty Vears of age, by seventy years the average amount has increased to 1474 weeks.
• The figures for 1898 are : 944,769 members, 4693,789 1:$. 81. total sick al.omances.
11.C.-- 303 of 1896).
To young people in the full flush and energy of early life, old age appears so far off that it is not easy to induce them to proride for it in any class. In the laboring class they cannot afford to provide for it, be they ever so prudent. An examination of existing methods of provision only proves how inadequate and futile they are.
The Extent of Existing Provision. This may roughly be summarized in three main forms : (1) Indi: vidual saving, (2) State assistance other than that rendered by the Poor Law, and (3) Combined mutual effort.
(1) The first form may be left out of the question. A few pounds painfully accumulated in a cracked tea-pot, are easily stolen and soon spent upon the first serious illness. There is probably less of this form of saving now than there was fifty years ago.
(2) Assistance by the State has taken the shape of the Post Office Savings Bank and of State annuities. The latter were established in 1865; but in the succeeding thirty-two years only 30,646 immediate and 2,980 deferred annuities were purchased, and of these 13,883 have lapsed by effluxion of time and other causes.* For convenience of calculation, the amounts invested in Trustee Savings Banks may be added to the investments in the Post Office Savings Bank showing a total, in round figures, of £164,000,000. This seems imposing ; but as it is shared amongst 8,760,000 depositors, the average investment per individual is only about £19. (3) Of combined mutual effort, there are four methods :
(a) BUILDING SOCIETIES. Excepting in certain well-defined districts, such as Woolwich, the large cotton-spinning towns, and the smaller towns in the vicinity of coal-mines, the main body of investors is drawn from the middle and shopkeeping class. The security of building societies is mis. trusted, sometimes with reason ; and their benefits are beyond reach of all except the best-paid artizans. They do not touch the main problem.
(6) CO-OPERATION. The Co-operative movement devotes but little of its resources to provision for old age. Its total capital was, in 1897, only €22,984,825, divided among 1,512,128 members, which gives about £15 per head. I
(c) TRADE UNIONS. Here, if anywhere, should effective provision be discovered, since members, funds, and control are essentially working class ; and insurance is a recognized department of Trade Union activity. But an analysis of the assistance rendered by Trade Unions demonstrates its inadequacy: For the year 1893, 687 societies forwarded returns of their membership, income and expenditure. Only 89 of the societies had a superannuation benefit, while 598, or 77 per ceni..
+ C-9011, 1898, pp. 197-9.
IC-9011, 1890, p. 23.
had none. These 687 societies contained 1,270,789 members, out of whom 812,1 u belonged to societies that did not possess a superannuation benefit. In other words, seven out of every ten Trade Unionists belong to societies in which there is absolutely no provision for old age. In 1893 only 6,789 members received superannuation benefit.* This benefit, too, involves a dangerous strain, since it is apt to outgrow the resources of a Trade Union. For instance, in 1851 the percentage of members of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers upon superannuation benefit was o'09. Since then there has been a steady, and, to the officials, an alarming increase, till in 1898 the proportion was 4'05 per cent. “We hope, urged the officials, "the efforts of the last Delegate Meeting to finance and make this benefit secure, will be followed up by another effort of some kind, which will enable to grant this benefit with pleasure, instead of, as is the case at present, with a fearsome thought of our ability to pursue a con. sistent and active Trade Policy.”'t The case of the Engineers' Society is not exceptional in this respect ; and the drift of feeling among Trade Unionists indicates a reduction rather than an extension of the scope of superannuation benefits.
(d) FRIENDLY SOCIETIES. Were it not for the claims made for Friendly Societies, the extent of their contribution to a practical solution of the problem of old age might safely be ignored.' With the exception of a reckless granting of continuous sick pay, they have not accomplished any. thing. And even with regard to sick pay, considerations for the future prosperity, to say nothing of the mere existence, of their societies are rapidly compelling the members to insist upon its abolition when the age of sixty-five is reached. I
In 1882 both the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows and the Ancient Order of Foresters adopted schemes under which members, by paying a weekly, monthly, or yearly contribution, varying according to age at joining, could secure a pension of five shillings per week upon attaining the age of sixty-five. Of 804,415 adult male members of the Manchester Unity, just over 500 have joined in seventeen years. In the Foresters the results are still more discouraging ; for out of a total adult membership of 726,403, only five members have joined. As Mr. Ballan Stead, the late Secretary of the Foresters, explains, "the ordinary working-man could not
Seventh Annual Report on Trade Unions by the Labor Correspondent of the Board of Trade, 1893. (C-7808, 1895). It is impossible to give more recent figures, owing to the unfortunate decision of the Labor Department to publish particulars relating to certain unions only.
+ Report of the Executive Council of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers, 1895, p. 25.
In the Valuation Reports of 1870 of the Manchester Unity, the late Henry Ratcliffe, the Unity's actuary, gave a warning. "If lodges," he wrote, "contemplate an allowance to members in old age, the members should contribute for such benefit, or the funds of the lodges will not be equal to pay the customary sick and funeral benefits."
be induced to see the value of a deferred benefit." A Past Grand Master of the Manchester Unity expressed the feeling of the working class towards such schemes in his retiring address. “ The idea," he said, “of asking young men of sixteen or eighteen years of age to make a selection for a benefit so long deferred, and for which they will have to pay a contribution higher than their fellows, is so utterly unreasonable that the most sanguine could not expect it to be very succesful.”+ These attempts of the Oddfellows and Foresters are typical of Friendly Society effort in this direction. Nothing is to be hoped for from it.
(e) Sick CLUB, ETC. In many large manufacturing establishments sick clubs exist. The majority only provide a moderate sick and funeral benefit. Where an old age pension is included, the clubs can be, and frequently are, used as pretexts for coercing the members. Commercial assurance societies, too, accomplish some amount of provision for old age ; but as most of them, while willing to give a quotation for any form of annuity, do not publish general tables, it is obvious that the demand is trifling.
Voluntary Provision. This is ludicrously inadequate to the necessities of the case. The highest estimate of the savings of the working class places them at £300,000,000, which, divided amongst the 16,800,000 members of the manual labor class, only yields an average saving of £17 16s. each.I There is no reason to doubt Dr. Hunter's estimate that only three per cent. of the working class have made any definite provision
The figures relating to Poor Law relief tell the same tragic story.
Old Age Pauperism and Poverty. According to the census of 1891 there were 1,323,000 persons over sixty-five years of age in England and Wales. For the twelve months ending Lady Day, 1892, a record was made of the persons over sixty-five who received Poor Law relief. The result showed that there were 376,427 persons over sixty-five years who were driven to accept relief from the Poor Law. In other words, two persons in every seven over sixty-five years old were in receipt of relief during those twelve months.
* For the evidence of the officials upon the results of these schemes, see the Report of the Royal Commission on the Aged Poor, summarized in the Final Report, C-7684, 1895.
+ Speech of P.G.M. Orford White, at Bristol A.M.C., p. 10.
| The Chief Registrar of Friendly Societies, in a paper read before the Royal Statistical Society on April 23, 1895, estimated the total savings as follows : Savings Banks, £144,725,640 ; Registered Friendly Societies, £28,500,000 ; Trade Unions, £1,378,007 ; Incorporated Building Societies, £44,414,115 ; Industrial and Provident Societies, £18,552,867 ; Certified Loan Societies, £256,139; Railway Savings Banks, £2,469,965 ; Total, £240,296,733.
8 (C—265, 1892). The figures are exclusive of medical assistance only. For an extremely acute analysis of these figures, see“ Memorandum," by Mr. Charles Booth, in the Aged Poor Commission Report.
for old age.