HC Deb 26 March 1969 vol 780 cc1608-9
25. Mr. Scott-Hopkins

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will now announce the starting date of the increase of pensions; and if he will state the scales.

Mr. Reynolds

I can only refer the hon. Gentleman to the Answer I gave him on 19th February, 1969.—[Vol. 778, c. 461–2.]

Mr. Scott-Hopkins

Surely the Minister could be a little more forthcoming? Is he aware that a lot of retired officers and other ranks would like to know whether he intends to use the Royal Warrant procedure to increase Service pensions?

Mr. Reynolds

There is no need for me to be more forthcoming. I told the hon. Gentleman in my earlier reply that they would take effect from 1st April, 1969.

Mr. Goodhart

Will the Minister look at the ridiculous anomaly whereby distinguished retired soldiers who hold the Long and Meritorious Service Medal annuity have their pensions reduced by almost the same amount as the annuity? Surely the new increase in pensions would give the Minister a chance to look at this rather barbarous anomaly once again?

Mr. Reynolds

I will have a look at that anomaly. To be perfectly honest, my first reaction is that it was rather the other way round—there is a waiting list for the annuity. I will have a look at this.

Mr. Ridsdale

Will the hon. Gentleman look sympathetically upon some of these pensioners living abroad, particularly as they have been so hard hit by devaluation? Will he press the Chancellor to do something to see that where possible they do not have to pay tax on the very small pensions they get when living abroad?

Mr. Reynolds

I am not sure of the exact point that the hon. Gentleman has in mind. Perhaps he would write to me. Generally speaking, pension increases, both in the public and the military sectors in this country are designed to help people living here to offset increases in the cost of living in this country. Pensioners living abroad, under National Insurance and other pension schemes, do not normally acquire the benefit.

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