§ 2.45 p.m.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government (i) whether they are aware that the failure of the Tanzanian Government to pay the pensions of former Colonial civil servants, who served in Tanzania, and now retired in South Africa, is causing hardship to the pensioners thereby affected; and (ii) in view of the recent undertaking given by Her Majesty's Government that should any pensioner find himself in difficulty due to the default on the part of any overseas territory, Her Majesty's Government would render immediate assistance, they would agree that in the above case action by them is now called for.]
THE PARLIAMENTARY UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE FOR COMMONWEALTH AFFAIRS (LORD BESWEICK)
My Lords, it was recently brought to our notice that the Tanzania Government pensioners resident in South Africa had not received their pensions since the nationalisation of the banks in Tanzania. I understand, however, that the non-payment of these pensions arose from a failure in the system for transmitting payments, and that the payment of pensions has now been resumed.
§ LORD GRIDLEY
My Lords, while thanking the noble Lord for his reply and while appreciating the difficulties which are involved in these cases, may I ask whether the noble Lord is aware that many pensioners are in receipt of no income other than the pensions they have earned? Would not the noble Lord agree that as soon as any overseas Government defaults in the payment of a pension to any pensioner, Her Majesty's Government should make good that default while pursuing their inquiries? 848 If this were done, it would obviate a great deal of hardship.
§ LORD BESWICK
Yes, my Lords, I accept what the noble Lord says: that if pension is not paid to pensioners difficulties do arise. We have given undertakings to help in such cases. I assure the noble Lord that when it was brought to our notice that there was a delay in the payment of these particular pensions a good deal of effort was made on their behalf, and, as I understand it, payment has now been resumed. If the noble Lord has any information to the contrary, would he be good enough to let me know?