§ Mr. Spearing
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what representations he has received from Her Majesty's Government of Canada concerning the conclusion of a reciprocal social security agreement which would include payment of United Kingdom pensions to 41,000 British pensioners living in Canada; if he will estimate the increase in the cost to Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom in pound sterling of such an agreement; and if he will provide a breakdown of this figure.
§ Mr. Whitney
Over the last 12 months representations from the Canadian Government on the conclusion of a reciprocal agreement to include paying pension increases to British pensioners living in Canada have been received266W from the former Minister of National Health and Welfare, the former Secretary of State for External Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister, the present Minister of National Health and Welfare and the present Secretary of State for External Affairs. This issue was also raised at talks between the two Prime Ministers when they met in September 1983 on the occasion of my right hon. Friend's visit to Canada.
The cost to the United Kingdom of a comprehensive social security convention would arise almost entirely from paying higher pensions to British pensioners in Canada. The annual cost of increasing these pensions to current rates would be about £35 million; to pay future increases only would cost £2.5 million in the first year but the cost would rise each year to the same ultimate figure.