100 signatures reached
To: The government and MP's of all parties
Pension parity for British pensioners living abroad
Remove an unjust anomaly that has resulted in over half a million British pensioners living in certain foreign countries receiving a state pension that has been frozen since the day they left the United Kingdom, even though they paid their National Insurance contributions in full throughout their working lives.
Why is this important?
In many countries including the USA and Spain British pensioners enjoy annual increments to their pensions just as their counterparts in the UK. But if you are unlucky enough to live in a number of countries including Australia, Canada or Indonesia, your pension is frozen for life.
A recent example in the press highlighted the plight of two sisters. They both retired in 1982 on the then full pension of GBP 28.50 a week. One now lives in the UK and enjoys a fully indexed pension of GBP 113.10 per week. The other sister went to Canada and receives the same GBP 28.50 a week that she received in 1982.
There are many war veterans living overseas who are similarly suffering. They paid their contributions in full during their working lives and they fought for their country. But who is getting the benefits they earned now?
Many politicians have promised their support in the past but when it comes to the crunch the victims of this injustice are out of sight and out of mind.
The pensioners are not asking for charity; they are simply asking to be treated fairly and given the pensions that they paid for. Had they paid the contributions to a commercial institution and been similarly treated that company would no doubt be in serious trouble. But the government is above the law and continues to be more concerned about winning votes than righting a wrong that has been perpetuated by successive governments.
The wicked irony is that the cost of rectifying the wrong would be a fraction of the billions they are now collecting in fines from the crimes committed by banks.
Another irony is that the people who are suffering constitute no burden to the state while they are living overseas. But should they be forced through sheer poverty to return to the UK not only would their pensions be restored in full but they would have access to all the state benefits and could become a much greater burden on the government.
It all defies logic but unless the public recognizes the unfairness and shouts loudly enough for MP's to hear, the 550,000 pensioners will gradually grow weaker and fade away. Does anybody care?