HC Deb 19 June 1924 vol 174 cc2303-5

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury (1) the reasons which actuated the issue of the Treasury Minute of February, 1922, making the industrial bonus subject for pensions purposes to periodical revision following variation in the cost-of-living bonus, although its fixation has nothing whatever to do with such cost of living;

(2) whether, in view of his statement that only a few established dockyard men now retired, or retired since February, 1922, are affected by the regulations and legislation which makes their pensions far less than those of their colleagues who retired in pre-War days, he will state exactly what the numbers of these men are for the entire period in question; and whether such men now retiring are equally prejudiced;

(3) whether he is aware of the hardship which at present exists in the case of industrial workmen employed in Government estabishments whose pensions, under the provisions of the 7th paragraph of Treasury Minute of 20th March, 1922, are less than they would be had they been pensioned prior to the 16th August, 1920, and received the increase granted under the Pensions Increase Act; whether he is aware that these men do not receive the ordinary Civil Service cost-of-living bonus, but, instead, a much lower rate of industrial bonus; whether he can see his way so to amend the terms of the Treasury Minute above referred to so as to provide that, where that part of any pension granted to industrial workmen in Government establishments under the terms of that Minute becomes less than the amount of the increase which would be granted to a civil servant pensioned upon the same basis rate, that part of the pension may be increased by an amount sufficient to make the increased pension equal to the amount to which the pre-War pension might have been increased under the terms of the Pensions Increase Act?


Pensions granted to officers who were in receipt of the industrial bonus are subject to reassessment, not in accordance with variations in the cost of living, as stated in the question, but in accordance with variations in the industrial bonus. The principle embodied in Treasury Minute of the 20th March, 1922, is that that part of the pension which is computed upon bonus shall be adjusted periodically to the amount of the pension which would be payable if the pensioner were retiring, with the same length of service, at the time of reassessment. It is true that, owing to the absence of an overriding maximum in the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1920, certain pre-War pensioners receive a larger total pension than their fellows retiring at the present time would receive after the same period of service; but, though it would not be possible to deprive them now of the excess amount so paid, the Pensions (Increase) Bill will contain an overriding maximum designed to prevent such a result as regards the new increases of pension proposed for the future. I cannot accept the hon., Member's suggestion that the anomaly should be corrected by the grant of an excess pension to men now retiring. I am informed that without a detailed examination of a very large number of cases, it is not possible to give the number of pensioners who, having retired after the 20th February, 1922, are now receiving less pension than their colleagues who retired prior to the 16th August, 1920, but that it is clear that the number cannot be substantial.


Will the hon. Gentleman say what determines the variation in the industrial bonus, and, since there are three different scales of pension for identical work, does he not think this is a subject worthy of inquiry, especially in the case of those civil servants retiring to-day, who are getting considerably less than those who retired two years ago from the same work?


The short reply is that undoubtedly there is an apparent anomaly in this case, due to the absence of an over-riding maximum in the Act of 1920, but to try to meet it in the way that has been suggested by the hon. and gallant Member would, I am assured, create far more anomalies than it would remove.