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Service Pensioners

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy that in all cases where Service pensioners have been found to be underpaid, interest will automatically be paid when additional sums are due.

No. Payment of interest may, however, be considered where an underpayment of pension is of a substantial amount,where it arose from departmental error, and where the period of underpayment is protracted. The amount of interest would be equal to that which would have been paid had the underpayment been invested in a building society ordinary account at the relevant time.

asked the Secretary of State for Defence what is the total sum so far returned to service pensioners as a result of errors arising from the computerisation of pension records; what was the highest, lowest and average award made; and what is the continuing cost each year.

Pensions errors are corrected when detected and no separate record is maintained. However, from the available information since 1 April 1983 £188,372 was returned to service pensioners as arrears of pension previousy underpaid. The highest individual sum was £8,208; the lowest £8; and the average sum of arrears £1,265. These figures relate to the correction of all underpayments irrespective of their cause. They were in the main clerical errors and do not point to any general defect in the systems in use. During this period the sum of money paid out as servicemens' pensions, not including lump sums, exceeded £1,000 million pounds.