HC Deb 30 March 1961 vol 637 cc1504-5
17. Dr. King

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what increase in pension has been made by Her Majesty's Government to a public service pensioner, Whose pension was £500 in 1946; what is the real value of his present pension in terms of the value of money in 1946; and what information he has about comparative figures for British public service pensioners who worked for the Government of Sudan.

Sir E. Boyle

A United Kingdom civil servant retiring on 30th June, 1946, with a pension of £500 a year will have received since then pensions increase of £183; and the value of his present pension in terms of 1946 purchasing power is £396. As for the third part of the Question, I assume the hon. Member has in mind British pensioners of the Sudan Government: I am advised by my right hon. Friend the Lord Privy Seal that the comparable figures are £103 and £350.

Dr. King

Do not the figures show that the time has come again for a revision of the inadequate pensions paid to veteran public service pensioners? Is the Financial Secretary aware that Britishers who served as civil servants in the Sudan are the only civil servants who have not had their pensions adjusted in any way to meet the rise in the cost of living? If the Sudan Government cannot accept their responsibilities, will the hon. Gentleman tell his right hon. and learned friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer that we in this country ought to accept our own moral responsibility to these British citizens?

Sir E. Boyle

I cannot comment on the first part of the hon. Gentleman's supplementary question. On the second part, I take note of what he has said and I shall pass it on. I think that it was accepted that the members of the Sudan Civil Service were not regarded as being in the service of the Crown, but were recruited by the Sudan Government which retains the responsibility for paying their pensions, including any pension increases to offset the effects of inflation, but I will certainly bear in mind what the hon. Gentleman has said.

Mr. Gresham Cooke

Will my hon. Friend also bear in mind that there is a strong feeling on this side of the House that something ought to be done on the question of Sudan civil servants' pensions?

Sir E. Boyle

I have, of course, noted the points made in this House by my hon. Friend the Member for Liverpool, Wavertree (Mr. Tilney), my hon. Friend the Member for Angus, North and Mearns (Sir C. Thornton-Kemsley) and my hon. Friend the Member for Hastings (Sir N. Cooper-Key). This is a difficult question, because the whole field of public service pensions is difficult anyway, particularly in this territory where we are dealing with people who are not technically British public service pensioners.