HC Deb 25 February 1960 vol 618 cc555-6
14. Mr. Denzil Freeth

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will introduce legislation in order to enable the amount of a pension which has been commuted to be raised in accordance with the increases in the actual pension authorised by legislation subsequent to the date of the pensioner's retirement.

Sir E. Boyle

No, Sir.

Mr. Freeth

Is my hon. Friend aware that the vast majority of pensioners who have commuted part, or nearly half, of their pensions are military pensioners who had to come back to this country to retire? They had to commute their pensions in order to find somewhere to live. An undertaking was given by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Defence on 11th November that he would look into this matter, particularly with reference to military pensioners. Does my hon. Friend's Answer today mean that that undertaking has been fulfilled and that the final answer of all Departments is, "No"?

Sir E. Boyle

My Answer means that the pension increase remains payable only on pensions and not on lump sum benefits. We ought to think very hard before we depart from that principle.

24. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer by what authority his Department decided to arrange for the Secretary-General of the Arts Council, who has a salary of £3,800 per annum, a special pension, although he is over the qualifying age; and if, in view of this decision, he will now agree to implement the recommendation of the Royal Commission that established civil

Sir E. Boyle

I ask the hon. Member to look at the table which will be published in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It is quite a big "drib or drab".

Following is the note:

servants, who were previously unestablished and who are mainly composed of ex-Service personnel living on small fixed incomes, shall have the right to count their service in full for pension purposes.

Sir E. Boyle

The Council decided that, since the Secretary-General was age-barred from its own pension scheme, it was reasonable to arrange to provide him with benefits which were broadly in line with the discretionary provision available for late entrants with special qualifications to certain public service schemes. The Treasury saw no reason to dissent.

The claim for full reckoning of unestablished civil service when it is followed by established service is a quite separate matter. On this point, I have nothing to add to the reply given by the Chancellor to the hon. Member for Bristol, Central (Mr. Awbery) on 1st December last.

Dame Irene Ward

As the decision to give a pension to this high-ranking officer was made with Treasury approval, but without Ministerial approval, at a time when we were being asked to tighten our belts, may I ask my hon. Friend when we shall implement the pledge given by us, when in Opposition, to those in the Civil Service and those living on small fixed incomes? When will our armour be shining bright again with regard to this pledge?

Sir E. Boyle

I think that the hon. Lady is widening the ambit of a Question which was fairly wide to start with. I have nothing to add to my Answer or to the correspondence which I have had with her on this subject.