HC Deb 13 December 1962 vol 669 cc716-7

Lords Amendments considered.

10.2 p.m.

The Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (Mr. John Tilney)

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

I understand that this is what is technically known as a paving Amendment for the next Amendment, in page 3, line 23, and is allied with the third Amendment to the Third Schedule, page 11, line 11.

The Amendment is due to the discovery at a late stage that there are two small categories of pensioner, 15 in all, who otherwise would have been omitted from the benefits of the Bill. Thirteen officers never served in the Sudan but were recruited in the United Kingdom to work in the London office of the Sudan Government. They were recruited to serve on a pensionable basis under the Sudan Government London Office Pensions Scheme of 7th December, 1925, and the Sudan Government Agency in London Superannuation Scheme for Staff of 1949.

In the second category there are two officers who served in the Sudan, but retired owing to ill-health too early to qualify for pension under the Ordinances. They have received an ex-gratia pension and if the Amendment in page 11, line 11, is passed, they will qualify for an increase. Most of the 15 officers are still under the age of 60 and the cost in the first year will be only about £500.

Mr. E. C. Redhead (Walthamstow, West)

I do not wish to detain the House except to express my personal pleasure that the Government have been responsive to the representations which have been made in this matter since we parted with the Bill in this House. There is little doubt that had we been aware when we had the Bill under consideration that as originally drawn it would have excluded the two categories, to which the Under-Secretary has referred, of pensioners of the Sudan Government, we would have recognised at once that in equity they should have extended to them the benefits of the Bill in the same way as the generality of overseas pensioners are benefiting.

In the circumstances, we on this side certainly offer no dissent from their inclusion. Indeed, we welcome it and we are glad that the Government have been responsive to the pleas which have been made.

Dr. Horace King (Southampton, Itchen)

I wish to thank the Government. Although this matter concerns merely a handful of men, it is an example of the care that the Government have taken to include all public service pensioners. On Second Reading, some of us asked the Minister to ensure that any small anomalies were dealt with. These Amendments deal with two small anomalies among the Sudanese pensioners. Those who retired because they had a breakdown in health received some kind of breakdown pension or ex-gratia payment and it is morally right that they should be included within the benefits of the Bill.

The second is a group who were serving the Sudanese Government, but in this country rather than in the Sudan, and their moral case is unanswerable. I congratulate the Government on having found these two tiny anomalies, and I express the hope that the Under-Secretary of State will look for other cases, as he has power to do under an Amendment which we shall give him later.

Question put and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.