Business of the House

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 13th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr John Wilkinson Mr John Wilkinson , Ruislip - Northwood 3:31 pm, 13th February 1997

Will my right hon. Friend find time before this Parliament ends for a debate on the third report of the Select Committee on Social Security, which is about the uprating of state retirement pensions payable to people resident abroad? Is he aware that that is the theme of early-day motion 185, tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Davyhulme (Mr. Churchill)?

[That this House expresses its grave concern at the discrimination practised by Her Majesty's Government against British state pensioners living in certain countries abroad; believes that the denial of pension increases to persons who have paid national insurance contributions is indefensible; and calls on the Government to end without further delay this discrimination against the hero generation who saved the world from Hitler.]

That early-day motion has attracted the signatures of no fewer than 248 hon. Members on both sides of the House. The Select Committee calls for a free vote in prime time on the matter, because there is clear discrimination against British citizens who have worked hard and paid a full stamp all their working lives, and who have gone abroad in their retirement, perhaps to join their children or grandchildren, only to see their living standards decline.

It would cost only £255 million a year to put right that manifest injustice. How can we ignore it, when £3 billion a year is wasted on social security fraud and £9 billion a year is made in contributions to the European Union, much of which is fraudulently misapplied?