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More about the Pensions Act as An Post about to unveil their new stamp

September 16, 2008 12:56 PM
Joseph Chamberlain

Joseph Chamberlain, originally a Liberal but who broke with his party over Irish Home Rule, an early champion of Old Age Pensions

An article by Ronan O'Brien in today's Irish Times gives some more background to the introduction of the 1908 Pensions Act by the Liberal government of H H Asquith. However O'Brien rightly makes the point that many politicians of different parties supported the idea of the state pension and gives credit to the former Liberal turned Unionist Joseph Chamberlain as the first front-line politician to come out in favour of it in the 1890s. Old age pensions figured prominently in the electoral addresses of Unionist, rather than Liberal, candidates in the 1895 election, which saw the Unionists returned to power. The Conservatives did not however find the time or resources to introduce the measure between 1895 and 1905 and it fell to the Liberals to bring in the 1908 Act.

O'Brien concludes by pointing that while not a particularly controversial itself, the Old Age Pensions Act served as the backdrop to what was to become the biggest political fight of the Edwardian era, Lloyd George's "People's Budget" of 1909, designed to pay for the pensions but perceived by Conservatives to be an assault on the rights of property.

You can read the whole article online at:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2008/0916/1221430251393.html