§ Mr. Gerald Howarth
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the pension trough affecting personnel retiring between 1976 and 1978; and what estimate his Department has made of the cost of correcting the anomaly. 
§ Mr. Caplin
The Government are aware of the strength of feeling among ex-Service personnel and other public servants whose pensions have been affected by periods of pay restraint. Successive Governments have concluded that it would not be affordable to increase the pensions of those affected to compensate for the effect of a pensions "trough". However, in view of the strength of concern on this issue and the fact that only indicative figures are available on the cost of remedying the position, my predecessor agreed that he would put work in hand to provide a more exact estimate of the cost of remedying the trough that occurred between 1976 and 1978. I can confirm that this work is under way. I expect this work to be completed before the summer recess and I will write to the hon. Member once the conclusions are available.