صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

the principle of pensions is a sound and practicable one. over by a Cabinet Minister who had previously denounced pensions in anv'shape or form, the Committee has formulated a scheme more progressive than any official declaration has hitherto been. The following heads constitute the main points of the project : (1) That a pension authority in each Union be established, to

consist of a statutory committee, appointed by, but independent of, the Guardians, with representatives

from other local governing bodies. (2) That the cost of the pensions be borne by the Union,

but a contribution of one half the estimated cost be

made on the basis of population from Imperial sources. (3) That the pensions be 5s. to 75. a week, paid through the

Post Office. The statutory committee may fix the amount, within these limits, in accordance with the

varying cost of living in different places. (4) That they be granted for three years and be renewable. (5) That the persons eligible be British subjects, men or

women, over sixty-five years of age, who for the previous twenty years have not been sentenced for serious crime, or received habitual poor relief (other than medical relief), provided that the applicant has not an income of more than 10s. a week, and has in the past shown reasonable providence, especially by joining a

benefit society. The recognition in this scheme of the principle of pensions as a legitimate claim is a satisfactory one, though there are numerous details open to criticism. The selection of Guardians as indirectly the administrative authority is objectionable for reasons given later. The proposed division of expense between the State and the Union is an unfair one, and would severely tax the resources of rural districts, on account of the undue proportion of aged residents in country villages. It may be further urged that provision for old age should be a national rather than a local obligation. The test of " reasonable providence " is unjust in theory, for the social function of providing for old age should be kept quite distinct from the social function of punishing or restraining dissolute idleness and drunkenness. It is doubtful, however, if in practice the test could be applied, except it be insisted that claimants should be members of benefit societies. To this reservation great opposition would be made.

The Committee's proposals represent, probably, the minimum concessions that the Government is prepared to support, and, by pressure and agitation, considerable alterations could be secured in the scheme.

A Practical Alternative. The following heads of an alternative scheme are submitted as forming the basis of a practical measure :

(1) That the County Councils be the statutory authority for

the administration of the scheme. (2) That the County Councils be authorized to appoint a

statutory committee, and such sub-committees as may

appear necessary for dealing with the scheme. (3) That age be the sole test of an applicants' qualification. (4) That each applicant should forward a birth certificate, or

other proof of age, accompanied by verification from two responsible householders to the offices instituted

by the County Council. (5) That the pension be paid by the Councils through the

medium of the Post Office. (6) That the age-qualification be sixty-five, and that the

pension be one of 75. per week for town residents, and

5s. per week for rural residents. (7) That the total amount of the pensions be paid by the

Treasury, and the cost of administration be thrown on

the county rate. There is weight in much that has been urged in support of the choice of the Guardians as the pension authority, especially in the fact that they possess the necessary machinery and the useful local knowledge. But it is important that the present stigma attached to Poor Law relief should be removed by every possible means from the new Old Age Pensions. The stigma is a sentimental one, but it is so deeply rooted in the feelings of the working class that the only way of avoiding it appears to be the constitution of a distinct authority for the administration of the scheme.

Meanwhile, the Poor Law would of course remain ; so that if any individual pensioner should prove incapable of using his pension otherwise than as a means of securing a day's drunkenness as a prelude to six days in the workhouse or prison, steps might be taken for its better administration by the Guardians. And as the pension is hardly likely to be liberal at the outset of the scheme, there need be no relaxation in the spreading of such Poor Law work on behali of the aged poor as that described in Fabian Tract No. 54, on the Humanizing of the Poor Law, especially in the section on cottage homes. Those pensioners who were unable to shift for themselves could thus take refuge with the Guardians whilst feeling that they were contributing the amount of their pension to their own support.

Cost. It is impossible to form any reliable estimate of the cost of a scheme of pensions. The possible number of claimants is an unknown one. But the question is not serious, for if the Government is prepared to consider a plan involving an annual expenditure of at least five or six millions, the extra cost necessary to make the scheme effective will not be overwhelming. In any case, the advantages of securing a certainty of food and clothing to our aged people are

worth an expenditure of considerably less than one-half of what we now pay for our army and navy. Our soldiers and sailors are entitled to receive at the end of a certain number of years a pension, determined by the length of their service. A nation whose annual income is £1,700,000,000* can afford to pension its fighters. Why does it think that it can afford not to pension its workers ?

SENTIMENTAL OBJECTIONS. It is sometimes said, even still, that old age pensions a grandmotherly and would sap the independence of the working class. How much independence is to be found in 400,000 men and women seeking relief from the Poor Law it is not easy to calculate ; nor can there be much self-respect and conscious dignity in the man who appears weekly before the lodge of his Friendly Society or branch of his Trade Union to beg for a continuation of their distress grant. Independence will be fostered rather than diminished by the removal of economic disabilities that now cripple a workman during his active life, and make the thought of his last years one of harassing dread.

Neither can any doctrinaire objection prevail now-a-days to the State intervening where voluntary methods have failed. The State is but the instrument by which the collective will shapes the destinies of the nation. Democracy governs the State ; and effective democracy in this country is marshalled in three great movements, the Co-operative Societies, the Trade Unions and the Friendly Societies. The pressure of disadvantageous economic conditions is visible to and felt by the members of these movements. Their entire life is fettered, haunted, and spoilt by it. It is they who have to suffer the horrors of indigent old age: it is they who have tried, by voluntary methods through their organizations, to remove them. But they have failed. Their failure has proved that the task is too great for individual effort to accomplish, and that through the State alone is it possible to effect a permanent solution of the problem.

• Tract 5, “Facts for Socialists,” edition 1899.

ment of its Rules; particulars of the conditions upon which members will

lecture in London or the country; and the following publications can be obtained from the Secretary, at the Fabian Office, 276 Strand, London, W.C. FABIAN ESSAYS IN SOCIALISM. (35th Thousand.) Paper cover, 1/-; plain cloth, 2-, post free from the Secretary.

FABIAN TRACTS and LEAFLETS. Tracts, each 16 to 32 pp., price ld., or 9d. per doz., unless otherwise stated.

Leaflets, 4 pp. each, price ld. for six copres, 1s. per 100, or 8/6 per 1000. The Set of 66, post free 2/3. Bound in Buckram, post free for 3/9.

Boxes for set, ls., post free ls. 3d. 1.-On General Socialism in its various aspects.

TRACTS.—79. A Word of Remembrance and Caution to the Rich. By JOHN Woolman. 78. Socialism and the Teaching of Christ. By Dr. JOHN CLIPFORD. 87. The same in Welsh. 42. Christian Socialism. By Rev. S. D. HEADLAM. 75. Labor in the Longest Reign. By SIDNEY WEBB. 72. The Moral Aspects of Socialism. By SIDNEY BALL. 69. Difficulties of Individualism. By SIDNEY WEBB. 51. Socialism : True and False. By S. WEBB. 45. The Impossibilities of Anarchism. By BERNARD SHAW (price 2d.). 15. English Progress towards Social Democracy. By S. WEBB. 7. Capital and Land. A survey of the distribution of property among the classes in England (5th edn. rovised 1896.) 5. Facts for Socialisis. A similar survey of the distribution of income and the condition of the people. (8th edn. revised 1899.) LEAFLETS.

13. What Socialism Is. 1. Why are the Many Poor? 38. The same in Welsh 11.-On Application of Socialism to Particular Problems.

TRACTS.-98. State Railways for Ireland. 88. The Growth of Monopoly in English Industry. By H. W. Macrosty. 86. Municipal Drink Traffic. 85. Liquor Licensing at Home and Abroad. By E. R. PEASE 84. Economics of Direct Employment. 83. State Arbitration and the Living Wage. 80. Shop-life and its Reform. 74. The State and its Functions in New Zealand. 73. Case for State Pensions in Old Age. By Geo. TURNER. 67. Women and the Factory Acts. By Mrs. SIDNEY WEBB. 50. Sweating: its Cause and Remedy. 48. Eight Hours by Law. 23. Case for an Eight Hours Bill. 47. The Unemployed. By J. BURNS, M.P. LEAFLETS.–89. Old

Age Pensions at Work. 19. What the Farm Laborer Wants. III.-On Local Government Powers : How to use them.

TRACTS.—82. Workmen's Compensation Act: what it means and how to make use of it. 77. Municipalization of Tramways. 76. Houses for the People. 62. Parish and District Councils. 61. The London County Council. 55. The Workers' School Board Program. 54. The Humanizing of the Poor Law. By J. F. OAKESHOTT. LEAFLETS.-90. Municipal. ization of the Milk Supply. 81. Municipal Water. 68. The Tenant's Sanitary Catechism. 71. Same for London. 63. Parish Council Cote iages and how to get them. 58. Allotments and how to get them. FABIAN MUNICIPAL PROGRAM (Nos. 30 to 37). The Unearned In. crement. London's Heritage in the City Guilds. Municipalization of The Gas Supply. Municipal Tramways. London's Water Tribute. Municipalization of the London Docks. The Scandal of London's Markets. A Labor Policy for Public Authorities. The 8 in a red cover

for 1d. (9d. per doz.); separately 1/- per 100. IV.-On Books.

29. What to Read. A List of Books for Social Reformers. Contains the best books and blue books relating to Economics, Socialism, Labor Movements.

Poverty, etc. 3rd edn.; revised 1896. Stiff cover, 6d, each; or 4/6 per doz. V.-On Fabian Policy.

70. Report on Fabian Policy and Resolutions presented to the Internat. Socialist Congress. 41. The Fabian Society: its Early History.

By BERNARD SHAW. VI.-Question Leaflets, containing Questions for Candidates for the

following bodies :- No. 20, Poor Law Guardians. No. 24, Parliament. No. 25, School Boards. No. 26, London County Council. No. 27, Town Councils

, No. 28, County Councils, Rural. No. 56, Parish Councils. No. 57, Rural

District Councils. No. 59, Urban District Councils. Book Boxes lent to Societies, Clubs, Trade Unions, for 68. a year, or 26 & quarter Printed by G. Standring, 9 Finsbury.st., E.C, and published by the Fabian Society, 270 Strauid.

LABOR IN THE LONGEST

REIGN

(1837-1897).

[THIRD EDITION. REPRINTED.]

BY

SIDNEY WEBB.

PUBLISHED AND SOLD BY

THE FABIAN SOCIETY.

PRICE ONE PENNY.

LONDON :
THE FABIAN SOCIETY, 3 CLEMENT'S INN, STRAND, W.C.

PUBLISHED March 1897. REPRINTED JANUARY 1905.

« السابقةمتابعة »