Leader asks questions about Pension Benefits Increase
the 22 July sitting of the Legislative Council, Leader of the Opposition Hon.
Ralph T. O'Neal asked the Minister of Finance Health and Welfare about the
Pension Scheme. The Minister had earlier on announced an increase in pensions.
Hon. Ralph O'Neal asked Hon. Ronnie Skelton to confirm if the date announced for
these increased pensions was met and if such payments were not made, would the
Minister be in a position to say when they will be paid.
of Finance Health and Welfare, Hon Ronnie Skelton explained that he did announce
to the Honorable House that it was the Government’s intentions to pay increased
pension benefits by the end of May 2004, however they were unable to meet the
deadline due to factors outside of their control.
said that he was pleased to report that on the Order of the Day the Chief
Minister was to give the first reading to the Pension Increase Act 2004. He said
as soon as the approval process is finalized he sees no reason why pensioners
should not receive the increased pension benefit backdated to January 2003.
O'Neal asked Hon. Skelton to give him a tentative date, and if it was possible
to have them paid by the end of August or September. Hon. Skelton answered that
from where he stands, the Ministry of Finance is willing and able to pay the
pension to pensioners, but it is controlled by the Human Resource Department and
under Government control. He further stated that he doesn't see any reasons why
they will not be able to pay these pensions by the deadline of August month end
also asked Mr. Skelton to confirm whether former legislators who are currently
in receipt of pension will receive increased pensions and whether the widows of
former legislators who are receiving pensions would also receive increased
pensions backdated to January 2003.
of Finance Health and Welfare explained that pension benefits for former
legislators and widows of former legislators are determined by a separate Act
called the Returning Allowances for Legislative Service.
He added that
nowhere in that Act it is stated that the responsibility of increasing the
pension benefits to former legislators and the widows of former legislators
falls to the Minister of Finance.
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