HC Deb 01 December 1983 vol 49 cc597-8W
Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is his estimate of the extra cost to public funds if eligible overseas service pensioners were entitled to have their war service taken into account for the purposes of pension calculations.

Mr. Raison

A broad estimate is that the enhanced entitlements would cost about £3 million a year in 1983 values, assuming no retrospection. The once-for-all administrative costs of implementing the concession would amount to some £200,000.

Mr. Stanbrook

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list those groups of members of the overseas Civil Service whose pensions are payable out of public funds, showing in each case whether and to what extent and by what authority Her Majesty's Treasury is or has been recouped by the overseas territory concerned.

Mr. Raison

The main groups of overseas service pensioners are as follows:

  1. (a) Former Palestine officers for whose pensions Her Majesty's Government accepted responsibility when the mandate terminated in 1948. The costs are borne entirely from British public funds.
  2. (b) Certain former officers of the India civil and military services and their dependants. Most of the costs have been recouped from India under a financial settlement in 1955.
  3. (c) Certain former overseas civil and public servants and their dependants for whose pensions Her Majesty's Government accept a special responsibility arising from the terms of their recruitment and employment. These pension entitlements are being taken over under a programme announced in March 1970.—[Vol. 797, c. 1344–49.] Her Majesty's Government reimburse expenditure by the overseas Government between 1 April 1971 and the date of takeover on shares of entitlements attributable to pre-independence service. Future expenditure on shares of entitlements attributable to post-independence service is recouped as a capital sum from the overseas Government concerned.
  4. (d) Certain pensioners to whom loan advances are paid, following defaults by the overseas Governments responsible. The costs are recoverable in whole or in part, either from the pensioner on resumption of payment by the overseas Government or direct from the overseas Government as part of the financial settlements connected with the takeover programme referred to in (c).

Most of the pensioners in these groups are eligible for pension increases and supplements in the same way as British public sector pensioners. The costs of these enhancements are met entirely from British public funds.

Apart from loan advances, which are paid ex gratia, these entitlements are paid under the Overseas Pensions Act 1973 and the Pensions (Increase) Act 1971.