HC Deb 01 December 1965 vol 721 cc1561-2
Mr. Nicholas Ridley (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)

I beg to move Amendment No. 7, in page 7, line 11, at the end to insert: (a) in paragraph (a) of section 3(2) (which restricts payment of a supplement to a person who is certified as having been an overseas officer in relation to any territory in or for which any services giving rise to the pension were rendered) at the end there shall be added the words "or, in any other case, as having been an overseas officer who being a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies is subsequent to retirement on pension resident in the United Kingdom". This Amendment relates to officers of the overseas service. The point is a fairly narrow one, and I hope the Committee will bear with me while I explain an injustice which I seek to put right.

Previously when Parliament has legislated on the question of pensions, as in the 1962 Act, it has always been the decision to exclude from pensions supplements such as are provided for in this Bill local officers of an overseas territory. I understand that local officers are officers who are citizens of the territory concerned or of a contiguous territory, persons who have been borne and bred in that territory although later they may become officers of another overseas service in the service of the Crown. The officers concerned are intended to share the fortunes of their countrymen after they have retired from overseas service. Those words: intended to share the fortunes of their countrymen are taken from a letter I received from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Overseas Development to explain why these officers are excluded from pensions supplements.

The reason is that in one country there may be inflation and in another country deflation. There would be differing economic circumstances and it would be clearly wrong to apply the pensions increases applicable to the United Kingdom to people who might live in any country in the Commonwealth and thereby have different circumstances. The Committee will agree that local officers should not get the increments payable under the Bill, but there is a difficulty. I admit that it is a particular case. It is the case of people classified as local officers although in fact they are genuinely—

It being Ten o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair to report Progress and ask leave to sit again.

Committee report Progress.