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Overseas Pensioners

Volume 165: debated on Friday 19 January 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what arrangements are made by his Department to pay pensions to overseas beneficiaries; what number of contracts exists for payment of United Kingdom pensioners resident overseas; what schemes have been contracted out; and how many countries are used for paying United Kingdom pensioners resident overseas.

There are approximately 530,000 British pensioners living overseas and the majority of these—some 400,000—are paid by direct payment into the pensioners' bank accounts. Under the terms of the social security convention between the United Kingdom and New Zealand the Department of Social Welfare there pays some 30,000 British pensioners on our behalf from funds transferred monthly to them for the purpose. The remaining pensioners are paid by means of sterling payable orders sent by post.The contract for handling this post was awarded last year to DHL International (UK) Ltd. following a tendering exercise for which it submitted the lowest bid. The specification for the tender required delivery within a time span comparable with the delivery schedule quoted by Royal Mail, which also tendered. The performance achieved is being monitored. Generally DHL takes mail to various countries abroad and posts it through the domestic mail service there.