HL Deb 29 January 2003 vol 643 cc162-3WA
Baroness Greengross

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What negotiations have been held since 1947 with countries with which the United Kingdom still does not have a reciprocal social security agreement; what plans they have to conduct any such negotiations; and whether the governments of any of the affected countries have expressed a wish to conduct negotiations. [HL1055]

Baroness Hollis of Heigham

Since 6 July 1948, when the national insurance scheme began, 33 agreements have been implemented over time following negotiations with the governments of 34 other countries or territories on possible reciprocal agreements covering social security benefits.

No commitments have been made to enter into new agreements with other countries for over 20 years. A new agreement with Barbados came into force in April 1992 but that fulfilled a commitment given to the Government of Barbados in the 1970s. The Government's policy is not actively to seek to enter into new reciprocal social security agreements with other countries that would extend payment of UK benefits to persons abroad.

As far as is known, the UK has received no formal requests from other governments with a view to entering into negotiations on possible reciprocal agreements covering social security benefits.