HC Deb 15 March 1983 vol 39 cc141-2W
59. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many United Kingdom citizens now reside, for family reasons, in countries of the Commonwealth who would normally qualify for a full retirement pension had they remained in the United Kingdom; what retirement pensions they now receive from the United Kingdom; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Rossi

According to latest figures (December 1982) there are 162,221 United Kingdom retirement pensioners residing in Commonwealth countries, but records do not show how many of these are United Kingdom citizens or for what reasons they are living abroad. Of these, 152,209 are restricted to the rate of pension which was current either when they left the United Kingdom or when they first became entitled if they were already living abroad at that time. Such pensioners do not receive the annual increases in pension awarded to pensioners living in the United Kingdom.

We have reciprocal agreements on social security with Cyprus and Malta which allow the 3,217 United Kingdom retirement pensioners in those countries to receive their pensions at current United Kingdom rates. We also have reciprocal agreements with certain other Commonwealth countries which allow pension increases awarded since, but not before, the date of the relevant agreement to be paid. Thus the 223 pensioners living in Bermuda receive all increases after 1 November 1969, the 6,509 pensioners in Jamaica get increases after 1 October 1972, and the 63 pensioners in Mauritius get increases after 1 November 1981. To pay both retirement and widows pensions in Commonwealth countries at current United Kingdom rates would cost some £100 million in the first year alone. In the present economic climate funds are not available for additional expenditure on this scale.