§ 2.35 p.m.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they can give any indication of the numbers of British pensioners of the former Civil Services of the Crown in India who are now precluded by the fact of their residence in India or Pakistan from the benefits of the Pensions (Increase) Act of 1956.]
§ THE MINISTER WITHOUT PORTFOLIO (LORD MANCROFT)
My Lords, I am sorry that it is not possible to give any indication of the numbers of British pensioners of the former Civil Services of the Crown in India who are now precluded by the fact of their residence in India or Pakistan from the benefits of the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1956. The pensions of those who settled in India or Pakistan on retirement are, for the most part, paid to them direct by the Indian or Pakistan authorities, and no record either of the original number or of those who still survive is available in this country. Her Majesty's Government would not, I am afraid, feel justified in asking the Governments of India and Pakistan for the information.
§ LORD HAILEY
My Lords, if the noble Lord will permit me to ask a supplementary question, may I ask him whether Her Majesty's Government actually contemplate any measures, either legislative or other, in order to remove the disability under which these officers now rest? I need not remind the noble Lord that they were expressly recruited by the Secretary of State for service in India, and if, after the end of that service, they continue to live in India they are disqualified from receiving benefits under 1140 the Act which they would receive if they were living in any other country in the globe.
§ LORD MANCROFT
My Lords, the principle that the Government of India should be responsible for any increases to be paid to pensioners in India dates back, as the noble Lord knows better than any of us, to 1920. The principle which has been followed, both in the Superannuation (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, 1948, and in the Pensions (Increase) Act, 1956, is that the United Kingdom Government do not pay increases to persons living in the area of India, Pakistan, Burma or Aden. It would be impracticable for Her Majesty's Government to pay pension increases to the vast number of pensioners, of all races, of the former Indian Services who are living in India or Pakistan. It would be equally out of the question for Her Majesty's Government to single out European pensioners now living in India or Pakistan for pension increases.