HC Deb 30 April 1958 vol 587 c367
30. Mr. Storey

asked the Secretary of State for War in how many instances the Army Pensions Office miscalculated officers' retired pay under the Pensions (Increase) Warrant, 1956, through assuming wrongly that the warrant permitted the rescindment of previous option for New Code rates; and what was the average amount per annum of the error.

Mr. Soames

There were 210 such cases, and the average overpayment was about £11 a year.

Mr. Storey

Is my right hon. Friend aware of one instance, which was brought to my notice, of an officer, who has only his retired pay to live upon, who had been led to think, two years ago, that he had an extra £13 a year, but who has now been told that he will not receive that and has been asked to repay the two years' overpayment? Since the mistake was made by his Department, does not my right hon. Friend think that he should be more generous to these retired officers?

Mr. Soames

We are, naturally, bound to recover public funds which have been paid out improperly. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] If they are paid out improperly, we are bound to recover them, wherever the mistake may lie. We are, therefore, asking the retired officers concerned to pay the money back, but we are spreading the repayments over a period, and we shall deal sympathetically with any cases where even a deferred payment would cause hardship.