HC Deb 13 February 1958 vol 582 cc89-90W
Mr. Bottomley

asked the Under-Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations if he will make a statement about the Welfare Agreement between the United Kingdom and Australia due to come into operation on 1st April.

Mr. Alport

Yes. On 29th January a new Agreement between Australia and the United Kingdom was signed in Canberra by Mr. Menzies, the Prime Minister of Australia, and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. The text of the Agreement, which was negotiated by my right hon. Friend, the Minister of Pensions and National Insurance, with the Australian Minister for Social Services, will be laid before Parliament at an early date.

The Agreement covers family allowances, retirement pensions, widows' benefit, unemployment benefit and sickness benefit in the United Kingdom, and the corresponding benefits of the Australian Social Services scheme, and it extends and simplifies the existing agreement of 8th June, 1953.

The principal change is that persons going from the United Kingdom to Australia will qualify for Australian benefits by virtue of their residence in this country, and not as at present, by virtue of their National Insurance contributions.

The new Agreement can be extended to cover any British Colony with a scheme of social insurance which is linked by a reciprocal agreement with the National Insurance scheme of the United Kingdom.