HC Deb 26 January 1982 vol 16 cc290-2W
Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will publish in the Official Report as much detailed information as may be available in respect of each case where any Treasury money contributes towards the various pension, severance and termination grants payable to the police, firemen, dockers, civil servants, Members of Parliament or other groups of employees, including those within the nationalised industries.

Mr. Hayhoe

For the major public services, the cost of pension and related compensation benefits in 1981–82 was estimated to be as follows:

b. Unfunded schemes
£ million
Current expenditure on benefits Reductions in salary rates in respect of pension benefits; employee contributions and other receipts Net cost to central Government
Pensions Lump sums and other benefits
Civil Service 661.0 313.6 361.6 613.0
Armed Forces 489.4 113.0 285.8 316.6

Pension benefits in the police and fire services are paid by local authorities out of revenue which is credited with employees' contributions and other income. The latest figures available centrally are for 1980–81 and are as follows—

Total Cost of Benefits Receipts £ million Net cost to local authorities
Police 195.6 85.4 110.2
Fire 51.2 21.0 30.2

Local government superannuation benefits are administered through funded schemes to which employers contributed a total of £766 million in 1980–81.

Half of the authorities' expenditure on police pensions is met by specific grants from the Exchequer. The balance of such expenditure for the police and the whole for the fire service and local government is taken into account in assessing the rate support grant paid by the Exchequer to local authorities for general expenditure. There are no centralised records of the lump sum compensation payments made by employing authorities in the police and fire services, local government, NHS and teaching.

Pension provision for Members of Parliament is made through the parliamentary contributory pension fund, to which the Exchequer contributed £1.5 million in 1980–81. The provision for 1981–82 is £1.6 million.

In the nationalised industries severance payments and payments to pension funds are normally the responsibility of the nationalised industry concerned and are not as a rule separately identified within the total finance made available to the industries. In some exceptional cases, however, specific Government grants have been made available. In 1980–81 the amounts were as follows:

Grants to Pension Funds £ million Grants for Severance Payments £ million
British Railways Board 47.6
National Freight Company 4.2
National Coal Board 52.7* 16.4†
British Shipbuilders 19.6
British Steel Corporation (Re-adaptation Grants) 30.0†
Post Office 45.0
*Included in Exchequer Finance Limit.
† Paid direct to ex-employees.

Grants were also made to the Port of London Authority of £2.6 million towards a pension fund deficiency, and £13.9 million for severance payments.

In addition, since 1980 loans totalling some £50 million have been made available to the National Dock Labour Board to facilitate the severance of registered dock workers under the self-financing national voluntary severance scheme.