HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 cc186-7
1. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether, having regard to complaints from pensioners living in Fiji, Canaries, Madeira, Malta, France, Italy and Australia, he will take steps to establish absolute parity for state pensions for all eligible British nationals irrespective of domicile ; what estimate he has made of the annual cost of such parity ; and if he will make a statement.

The Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Security (Mr. Paul Dean)

Any person entitled to a British pension can receive it in any country at the rate current either when he left Britain or when he qualified while abroad. We think it right that subsequent increases should be paid only in countries which have agreed to do likewise for persons drawing their pensions here. Arrangements to this effect have been made in reciprocal agreements with 13 countries, including Malta, France and Italy. The additional annual cost of paying the proposed increased rates from September next to all persons drawing British pensions abroad is estimated at about £8 million.

Sir G. Nabarro

Having regard to the relatively small sum involved, could not my hon. Friend pay some attention to the justice of this case? Is not inflation worldwide, often at a higher rate abroad than in this country? Have not these pensioners abroad qualified, by payments over the whole of their working lives, to become eligible? Why should domicile overseas negative what is their due right—to receive the full pension, with increases?

Mr. Dean

I understand my hon. Friend's point. On the other hand, he will appreciate that the amount they have paid in contributions nothing like covers the cost of the pensions which they receive, and the increases must, of course, be met by the existing working population and taxpayers in this country.

Sir G. Nabarro

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. In view of that unsatisfactory reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise this matter at the earliest possible moment on the Adjournment.