HC Deb 19 April 1962 vol 658 cc670-1
18. Sir W. Teeling

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies why the Legal Secretary of Malta is to be given over £10,000 on leaving Malta; why the new Malta Government has been asked to pay this sum; how long he has been employed in Malta; what has been his salary; and whether this sum is free of tax.

Mr. Maudling

Mr. Stephens, who has been a member of the Overseas Civil Service since 1946, had been in the service of the Malta Government since 1957. His pensionable salary was £2,800 a year, subject to Malta income tax. As a result of the introduction of the new Constitution in Malta his post was abolished. Consequently, in accordance with the principles set out in Colonial No. 306, published in 1954, and Command 1193, published in 1960, he became eligible for compensation for loss of career, payable by the Government which employed him. The compensation paid to Mr. Stephens was determined on the advice of the Government Actuary in the United Kingdom.

Sir W. Teeling

Does not my right hon. Friend think that this is really rather an excessive sum to pay to a man who has been in Malta only just over three years, all during the time when there was no Malta Government and only what was provided by the Colonial Office? Does not this gentleman also receive a pension from his ordinary job? Also, is he not able to be employed somewhere else?

Mr. Maudling

Mr. Stephens has been treated like every other member of the Overseas Civil Service, and his compensation, according to the principle constantly approved by the House, was determined by the Government Actuary. I think that that is absolutely right and is in accordance with practice generally in the Overseas Civil Service.

Mr. Healey

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree, although this raises a difficult question, that it is very undesirable that at the present stage in the development of Colonial Territories new colonial Governments should be saddled with the total responsibility for paying compensation on this scale? This is a problem which is as serious in East Africa and other territories as it is in Malta. Will not the right hon. Gentleman have another look at the whole problem and see whether it would not be possible for Her Majesty's Government at least to accept some part of the burden for compensating such personnel?

Mr. Maudling

That is another and wider question but I will certainly consider it. In this case, Mr. Stephens, like other civil servants, has been working on the basis of certain things to which he is entitled, and we must make quite sure that such persons get their entitlements.

Mr. Farr

Will my right hon. Friend confirm whether the sum actually is tax-free?

Mr. Maudling

Yes, Sir. In all cases these sums are made tax-free by the Finance Act, 1960.

Forward to