HC Deb 25 June 1964 vol 697 cc596-8
4. Mr. Turton

asked the Secretary for Technical Co-operation whether he is aware that pensioners of oversea local authorities, who were recruited in the United Kingdom by the Crown Agents or were transferred from Government Service and have since retirement been paid a pension from overseas public funds through the Crown Agents, are being denied the increases of pensions authorised by the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962; and whether he will correct this anomaly.

Mr. Carr

The Pensions (Increase) Act, 1962, passed by Parliament eighteen months ago, which extended these benefits for the first time to overseas civil servants, provides for supplements to the pensions of members of H.M.O.C.S. and their dependants, to officers designated under the Overseas Service Aid Scheme, and to other officers recruited by a Secretary of State or the Crown Agents to posts in central government service overseas. Legislation to change this is not contemplated.

Mr. Turton

Is it not a very grave injustice to this small minority? These men were recruited and received their pension under the same instrument as the others who are receiving supplements under the Act, yet the Act itself will preclude the overseas Governments from themselves initiating any supplement to these pensions. Therefore, these men, merely because they have been asked by Her Majesty and the Governor of the Colony to give service to the local authorities, are being put in an unfair position.

Mr. Carr

I will study what my right hon. Friend says, but there has always been a distinction between in our overseas territories before independence and in independent countries since, and between those who work for the central Government and those who work for local government and statutory bodies. That state of affairs is not confined to overseas pensions. The direct use of Exchequer funds to supplement pensions outside the central Government service, whether at home or abroad, would introduce an entirely new principle in pensions increase legislation.

Mr. H. Hynd

While one has every sympathy for these officials, is it not strange that the Act should be extended to people overseas but not to railway superannuitants?

Mr. Carr

That is another question and not one for me.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind that there are special circumstances in this case? Will he have as much flexibility as possible in considering this matter?

Mr. Carr

I have said that the present legislation does not allow it, and I must tell the House frankly that no change in that legislation is contemplated.