HC Deb 23 April 1970 vol 800 cc606-7
5. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether she now proposes to pay the pensions of locally enlisted servants of the Aden and Zanzibar Governments whose pensions are in default.

14. Mr. Tilney

asked the Minister of Overseas Development whether the arrangements made for the payment of pensions to public servants in Southern Yemen announced on 19th March will apply,mutatis mutandis, to similar pensioners who served in Zanzibar and who find themselves likewise without any pension owing to the action of the Zanzibar Government.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Overseas Development (Mr. Ben Whitaker)

In respect of the Aden pensioners I would refer the hon. Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mr. Allason) to the written reply my right hon. Friend gave to the hon. Member for Sutton and Cheam (Mr. Sharpies) on 19th March. Her Majesty's Government are prepared to make ex gratia loan advances equivalent to the amount of pensions to indigenous pensioners who were members of the civil administration and civil police. In respect of the Zanzibar pensioners our representations are still continuing. [Vol. 798, c. 208-9.]

Mr. Allason

Should not the Government take the same steps for Zanzibar that they have taken for Aden? Will the Minister explain why the operative date for Aden is 1st April, 1970, when some pensioners suffered hardship before that date?

Mr. Whitaker

The hon. Member will appreciate that arrangements have to be made to ensure that matters work out satisfactorily. He will be aware that there is a clear distinction between the situation in Zanzibar and in the South Yemen. Whereas no agreement was reached with the Southern Yemen Government, there was a contractual agreement established with Zanzibar on independence, and it is the Zanzibar Government who have defaulted.

Mr. Tilney

What hope is there of the Zanzibar Government coming to an agreement with Her Majesty's Government, how many pensioners are likely to be affected, and will they be treated as individual cases?

Mr. Whitaker

The British High Commissioner in Dar-es-Salaam has made repeated representations, and more recently to the President of Zanzibar, about the non-payment of Zanzibar local pensions. While everybody sympathises with this situation, to derogate from it would be a standing incentive to others to abrogate their contractual obligations.

Mr. Braine

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that there are many people in this country who do not understand how British taxpayers' money can be made available to a Government that behaves so disgracefully towards its former public servants, whose only crime was that they faithfully served the Crown before independence?

Mr. Whitaker

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that there is a clear distinction between the situation in Yemen, where there was no agreement covering these pensioners, and the fact that when Zanzibar became independent a public officers' agreement was concluded and a pension safeguard written into the Constitution.