HC Deb 04 December 1967 vol 755 cc935-6
25. Mr. Ronald Bell

asked the Minister of Social Security what measures she will take to mitigate the effect on National Insurance pensioners living abroad of the recent devaluation of the £ sterling.

Mr. Loughlin

None, Sir. It would be wrong, in principle, to modify the ordinary rules of National Insurance so as to mitigate the effect of devaluation.

Mr. Bell

Why so, since the Prime Minister has made it clear that the £ is not being devalued in people's pockets? What about those who have contributed for pension and then for some adequate reason have gone abroad for their retirement, perhaps because they originated abroad? Certainly the £ is being depreciated in their pockets, is it not?

Mr. Loughlin

National Insurance is designed to meet the needs of people in this country. It has been a long-standing rule that if people go abroad they do not receive the pension increases. If we were to take into account devaluation, inherent in the Question, we should also have to take into account all the increases in the cost of living which take place in other countries.

Sir Stephen McAdden

This is all very well, but has not the Ministry in answer to several questions insisted upon the contributory principle? If it is right that these people should pay contributions, surely they should not get their benefits at a devalued rate?

Mr. Loughlin

I assure the hon. Member that if he looks at the whole question of the amount of contributions which they have paid, he will see that the rate at which benefits are paid at present is very good.