Commonwealth - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:02 pm on 16th March 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Mobarik Baroness Mobarik Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip) 6:02 pm, 16th March 2017

I think the noble Baroness has raised this question in a previous debate. Perhaps I should write to her to clarify our position on that issue.

My noble friends Lord Popat and Lord Sheikh rightly recognised the important role played by our trade envoys in delivering our vision for a truly global Britain, particularly in enhancing our relationships with Commonwealth partners. I commend my noble friend Lord Popat for his personal work as trade envoy to Uganda and Rwanda since January 2016. I know that he has built strong links with both countries. The Department for International Trade has recently undertaken a review of the trade envoy programme and recommendations on its future direction are now with the Prime Minister.

The noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, and my noble friend Lord Goodlad raised the issue of pensions. Uprating state pensions overseas is a long-standing policy of successive Governments. This has been the case for almost 70 years and there are no plans to change the policy.

To my noble friend Lord Sheikh, I say that we are proud of our long and productive relationship with Commonwealth partners and are committed to delivering a future border system which welcomes investment and promotes prosperity. The precise arrangements for controlling immigration after the UK leaves the EU have yet to be determined. Openness to international talent will remain one of the UK’s distinctive assets.

The noble Baroness, Lady Uddin, mentioned the importance of embedding women’s rights in all future trade deals. I reassure the noble Baroness that the Government, through their delivery of a successful Commonwealth summit and their wider trade policy, are committed to building genuinely inclusive prosperity that benefits and provides opportunities for all. We welcome the opportunity for dialogue on human rights and good governance brought about by our close trading partnerships with countries around the world.

Annotations

George Morley
Posted on 17 Mar 2017 3:36 pm (Report this annotation)

"The noble Baroness, Lady Benjamin, and my noble friend Lord Goodlad raised the issue of pensions. Uprating state pensions overseas is a long-standing policy of successive Governments. This has been the case for almost 70 years and there are no plans to change the policy."
But further on you say :
"The Government agree entirely and believe that good governance and respect for human rights are the foundation of the inclusive and sustainable development we all wish to see around the Commonwealth."
Surely conflicting statements here and your conclusion is shameful as is the frozen policy itself.
Either you support human rights or you do not and cannot have it both ways.
Whether LGBT or Frozen pensioners they are entitled to equality which you fail to mention, remembering that the pension is an entitlement not a benefit and it belongs to the pensioner and not to the Government who are purely administrators of it and to then suggest that longevity is a valid reason to leave it as it is does you no credit ass we would still have slavery and women would not have the vote. Do we have to throw ourselves in front of a horse ??

Andy Robertson-Fox
Posted on 17 Mar 2017 4:04 pm (Report this annotation)

Baroness Mobarik you say "Uprating state pensions overseas is a long-standing policy of successive governments"
If it is a policy why does the government not do so?

Jane Davies
Posted on 17 Mar 2017 7:04 pm (Report this annotation)

So what you are saying then Baroness Mobarik is that because a scandalous injustice has been allowed to continue for decades it is OK for it to continue is it, and you have no conscience about this shameful and disgraceful way the UK alone treats it's seniors?

One of the richest countries in the world, the UK is the only member of the OECD to victimize it's own vulnerable seniors, the 4% who have paid for their pensions under the same terms as the rest. And you think this "long standing policy" should continue? Shame on you.

helen ellis
Posted on 17 Mar 2017 10:35 pm (Report this annotation)

I am delighted to hear that "uprating state pensions overseas is a long-standing policy" and look forward to my enhanced state pension. Many contributors to this debate focus on "human rights" and the promotion of "equality," yet Baroness Mobarik, while supportive of the idea of "embedding women's rights in all future trade deals," does not accept the equal importance of state pensioners' rights. A "vision for a truly global Britain" must necessarily encompass equal rights for state pensioners no matter where they reside.