HC Deb 17 December 1963 vol 686 cc1033-4
23. Sir E. Errington

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation whether he is aware that Ghana has passed a statute imposing a tax of 7s. in the £sterling upon remittances of those who receive pensions but are not resident in Ghana; and what steps he is taking to ensure that this new departure will not adversely affect ex-colonial pensioners who are resident here.

Mr. R. Carr

Yes, Sir. I am aware of the action of the Ghana Government With regard to the second part of the Question, as my hon. Friend the Undersecretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies told the House last week, representations have been made to the Ghana Government and we still await their reply.

Sir E. Errington

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the tax of 7s. in certain cases may be more than is paid in this country by these pensioners? While the financial probity of Ghana is open to the gravest questions, may I ask that something should be done to press this matter hard and that it should not be left to lie where it is?

Mr. Carr

I can assure the House that I am deeply concerned about the effect which this measure could have on the pensions of British people who served both Ghana and this country very well. I can assure my hon. Friend and the whole House that our representations to the Ghana Government are being taken up in that spirit.

Mr. Wade

Has the right hon. Gentleman satisfied himself that in the application of this tax no account is taken of allowances which would apply to a tax at the rate of 7s. in the £ in this country, and that therefore this is a straight tax of 7s. on a pension income, however small the pension may be, which is very unfair? Are we not under an obligation to colonial servants to ensure that they do not suffer in this way?

Mr. Carr

I assure the hon. Member that the point he has made is very much in our mind as one of the potential causes of hardship. I should prefer not to comment on any other matter until we have completed our consultations and representations to the Ghana Government.

Sir J. Vaughan-Morgan

Will my right hon. Friend use his influence to draw the attention of the Ghana Government also to the fact that this kind of action is a considerable disincentive to those whom they might seek to recruit for future service in that country?

Mr. Carr

Yes, Sir.

Mr. G. M. Thomson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Government will have strong support from this side of the House in making these representations?

Mr. Carr

I am very glad to hear that.