HC Deb 08 February 1966 vol 724 cc185-6
15 and 16. Sir J. Fletcher-Cooke

asked the Minister of Overseas Development (1) whether he is aware that over 30 former members of Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service, and widows of such officers, now in retirement in Rhodesia, have not received their Tanzanian pensions since October, 1965; and what steps he is taking to ensure that they receive the pension due to them;

(2) whether the Government of Tanzania, on ceasing to pay pensions to their pensioners in retirement in Rhodesia, informed Her Majesty's Government of their intention so to default, in view of the Public Officers Agreement to which the Government of Tanganyika, as it then was, and Her Majesty's Government were both signatories, and in view of the fact that Her Majesty's Government have frequently informed Her Majesty's Overseas Civil Service pensioners that such Public Officers Agreements safeguard the payment of their pensions.

Mr. Oram

I am aware of the position. There has been no default on the part of Tanzania. Payment of pensions has been interrupted as a consequence of the general restriction on remittances from Tanzania to Rhodesia. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations is now making representations through the Canadian High Commissioner in Dar-es-Salaam to the Tanzanian authorities with a view to securing the resumption of the payment of pensions.

Sir J. Fletcher-Cooke

Is the Minister aware that, in view of the fact that the vast majority of these pensioners have nothing else to live on, they are hardly likely to be satisfied by a reply which suggests that negotiations are going on? Have not Her Majesty's Government an obligation, under the Public Officers Agreement, to make good any default, as they did when pensioners from Zanzibar and British Somaliland were unable to receive their pensions?

Mr. Oram

I agree with both parts of the hon. Member's supplementary question. We recognise the situation and are urging that the financial difficulties should be overcome. We are confident that before long this will be possible. [HON. MEMBERS: "When?"] I would put it to the hon. Member that it is understandable that communications with Dar-es-Salaam have been somewhat difficult. We are taking all steps open to us to get the matter resolved quickly.

Mr. Chataway

In view of the fact that on the two previous occasions to which my hon. Friend has referred—when payments to British pensioners were discontinued by independent Governments—the British Government stepped in and paid the pensions, can the hon. Member say whether the same practice will be followed on this occasion?

Hon. Members

Yes or no?

Mr. Oram

We must, I suggest, await the result of the representations which we have made before we decide what remedial action will be necessary.

Mr. Hogg

In the meantime, is aid to Tanzania continuing just the same?

Mr. Oram

There have already been Answers to Questions on that subject.

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