HC Deb 20 November 1956 vol 560 cc1533-4
28. Sir L. Plummer

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will consult the Government of the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland with a view to increasing the pensions of members of the 1st Battalion of the Rhodesian Rifles who have served, or are now serving in Malaya.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. John Hare)

It is for the Government of the Federation, and not for me, to decide what pension rates ought to be provided for their own forces.

Sir L. Plummer

Is the Minister not aware that Her Majesty's Government make a contribution towards these pensions? Is he satisfied that an Askari who has a 20 per cent. to 50 per cent. disability should receive a pension of only 2s. 9d. per week and that an Askari with a disability of 80 per cent. and over should receive a pension of only 5s. 2d. per week? Is it not the duty of Her Majesty's Government to see that these African soldiers are treated decently?

Mr. Hare

The hon. Member knows that these troops are the responsibility of the Federation Government. Her Majesty's Government are not in a position to interfere with the administration of these troops

Mr. Hale

But is not the Minister aware that when he was at the Colonial Office it was said that both the Colonial Office and the Commonwealth Office would make representations and, we understood, they made strong representations? Are we to understand that those representations have been ignored, because the whole position of the Askaris, both those now serving and those disabled in the war, is a matter which gives great concern to the House, and if those representations are to be ignored that does reflect upon the Government of the Federation?

Mr. Hare

I have not said that the Federation Government have necessarily ignored representations. I am sure that the Federation Government will take note of what has been said in the House today.

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