Majority Report in favour of differential treatment of the respectable aged, but it did not recommend the adoption of the Pension Scheme. The report devoted much attention to the Poor Laws Provision for the aged. It put the number fo persons over 65 who were supported by the Poor Law at 268,397 (one-day account, January 1, 1892). This was 19.8 per cent. of the total population of England and Wales over 65; the proportion of the total population of all ages which was on relief was only 2.4 per cent. Of the aged poor on relief only 63,352 were on inddor relief. In London 35 per cent. of the population over 65 were supported by the Poor Law, and of these 23 per cent. were on indoor relief. The proportion of the working class population over 65 on relief was, as the report observed, obviously much higher.
The majority's recommendations were cautious. The member favoured giving outdoor relief to the aged poor, and insisted that it should be adequate; and they urged that old people who came into the workhouse should be given greater freedom regarding hours of rising and retirering, visitors, absence to pay visits, type of clothes, food and personal commforts; they insisted that (as the law permitted) aged married couples should not be separated except at their own request. ... the test of destitution should be retained, and for those given out door relief should be coupled with 'evidence of respectability and a reasonable endevour ... to make provision for his old age in accordance with his means during his working life'. The other ways by which old people might be delped were examined; endowed and other charities, COS pensions, friendly societies, Post Office savings and annuities. ... Chamberlain's scheme was disliked for its compulsory feature, Booth's because of its cost and its discouragemnent to thrift.
A minority report was signed by Chamberlain, Ritchie, two other members of Parliament,and Booth. It estimated the number of the poor among working -class people over 65 as nearly one in two, and regretted the majority's lack of any constructive policy concerning pensions. ... the report of Henry Broadhurst ... called for fundamental changes in the treatment of the aged poor: the Poor Law and charity were not sufficient. The maintenance of the aged should be a public charge upon the whole community, and should include a general scheme of pensions. 'A state of things in which two out of three of large sections of the labouring population are condemned, after libes spent in hard and ill-paid toil in the service of the whole community, to linger out the rest of their days in pauperism, demands, in my opinion, the immedeate attention of Parliament'. '... so long as four or five hundred millions sterling are every year paid in recent and interest ... the wage-earners will be slow to believe that the provision of twenty millions for the maintenance of aged workers offers any insuperable difficulty to a willing Chancellor of the Exchequer'.