HC Deb 09 March 1955 vol 538 cc424-5
12. Mr. John Hall

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what additions have been made to the pensions of officers of the administrative and executive grades of the Colonial Civil Service who retired from service in West Africa in 1946.

Mr. Hopkinson

Additions have not been made except in cases where the pension would otherwise be less than it would have been if based on the pre-1946 rate of salary and supplemented by the pensions increase applicable to officers who retired before that date.

Mr. Hall

I find it rather difficult to follow that rather complicated answer. Can my right hon. Friend say, first, whether other Colonies treat their pensioners rather more generously? Secondly, would he not agree that the present pension system for colonial civil servants is excessively complicated, and that efforts should be made to simplify it?

Mr. Hopkinson

Regarding the first part of that supplementary, in most overseas Territories the basic pensions are the same and are awarded on a uniform basis. Each Government decides such matters as pension increase schemes, and I think it is true to say that the West African Governments are a little less generous than certain other colonial Governments in these matters. As a matter of fact, my right hon. Friend has drawn their attention to this point. In general, I agree that the Colonial Civil Service pension schemes are complicated, but we are constantly looking at them to see where we can improve them. They are difficult.

Mr. J. Johnson

Do the Minister's observations apply only to Europeans, because the African civil servants also have a grievance in this matter?

Mr. Hopkinson

I think that is so, but I have not had my attention drawn to it.