HC Deb 24 May 1962 vol 660 cc656-7
17. Sir T. Beamish

asked the Secretary to the Treasury what total sums of compensation money would have to be refunded to officers formerly in the India and Burma Services if the Treasury were to revert, without any subsequent interpretations, to the terms of the statement made by the then Financial Secretary to the Treasury on 24th February, 1949, to the effect that two years had been fixed for the period within which the obtaining of an alternative career in the form of permanent and pensionable employment under Her Majesty's Government would entail forfeiture of compensation.

Mr. Brooke

Of the £190,000 compensation which has been refunded by officers of the Indian and Burman Services since 1948–49, it is estimated that about half has been refunded under the interpretation to which my hon. and gallant Friend refers.

Sir T. Beamish

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it would seem, from the figures which he has been kind enough to give me, that the abandonment altogether of the two-year rule might involve the repayment of about £200,000 in compensation while to return the compensation to officers who actually obtained employment after the end of the two-year rule would apparently cost only about £20,000? Not only does it seem that there is a serious misunderstanding here, but it appears that a serious injustice may have been done to a small number of men. In view of this, will my right hon. Friend undertake to look into this matter again?

Mr. Brooke

If there has been any misunderstanding between my hon. and gallant Friend and myself I will do my utmost to remove it, but if he is asking that we should treat in a different way people who entered the Government service within two years and those who now have exactly the same pension rights, I certainly could not agree to that.

Mr. Tilney

Would not the Chief Secretary agree that the extra pension for those involved in the United Kingdom service is very small compared with the amount of compensation surrendered? Does he realise that there is strong feeling on both sides of the House about this matter?

Mr. Brooke

There is a further Question on the Notice Paper on this subject but it is concerned with people who entered the public service in an unestablished capacity and were then offered establishment. It was really for them to consider, in the light of all the factors involved, whether or not they would wish to accept establishment and pension.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Why is this rule applied to members of the previous Indian Civil Service when, after seven- teen years, they are offered permanent employment? Surely that is against the whole tenor of the regulation at the time?

Mr. Brooke

I think that I should be anticipating a further Question if I answered that supplementary question.

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