Saturday, 5 May 2012

Britain is no country for old men who once paid its taxes, then left its shores to live and retire in Australia and other lands

Old men and women who leave Britain and reach retirement age in Australia, Canada, South Africa or one of 170 other countries, know their basic state pension won't increase annually and find it will be permanently frozen at the date they retired or when they arrived in that country and will never increase, no matter how rich or poor they are, or how much they paid in national insurance contributions when they were British taxpayers.

So 'frozen pensioners' :

Question : "How many of you are there out there ? "
Answer : "Around 555,000."

Question : "How old are you ?"
Answer : "The oldest of us left Britain in the 1970's and have had our payouts frozen at as little as £6 a week, where we would be getting up to £107.45 a week if we were living in Florida or on the Costa del Sol."
:" We think these rules, imposed by the British Government, are discriminatory and unfair, and result in financial hardship for us around the world and preventing some from moving to join children and grandchildren living abroad and worried about becoming a financial burden to their family as the value of their pension dwindles."

Question : "Have you tried to change this ?"
Answer : " Ten years ago we launched an ultimately fruitless legal challenge, which kicked off in the High Court and went all the way to the European Court of Human Rights where British  Ministers conceded the rules are 'illogical', but argued it would be too expensive to uprate pensions for everyone and say the priority should be targeting money at the poorest pensioners living in Britain."

Question : "Have you given up ?"
Answer : "No. Last week the 'International Consortium of British Pansioners' which represents expat campaigning groups in Australia and Canada, launched its new 'Pension Justice' website aimed at highlighting our plight. We have decided to appeal to the Queen in her Diamond Jubilee year and in a letter sent to her last month, 73-year-old Jim Tilley, who moved to Australia in 1971 and is honorary chairman of the 'Bitish Pensions in Australia' said : 'We pray that … you will see reason to request your government to be less intransigent about this issue.' **

Question : " Do you have support in high places ?'
Answer : 'Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, recently met Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague in London, and called on the British Government to uprate the pensions of Britons living in Australia and has said : "Australia's got a very strong case here … I'm strongly opposed to what they're doing,"

Britain in 2012 : Still a bastion of democracy and fairplay ?

** Let's hope Jim's plea from one old pensioner to another might reach a sympathetic ear.

John, a 'frozen pensioner' in Canada :

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