PETITION

We are pleased to announce that a new petition on the frozen pensions issue, has been lodged with change.org.

To sign the petition, Read and sign petition, click here.

Our aim is to make the British public aware of, and sympathetic to, our cause. Please do your best to encourage your family and friends. Especially those who live in the UK. There is no upper limit to the number of signatures we want.

Here is a sample of the comments that have been left by some of the people who have already signed: comments.htm

Here is the full explanation of the need for the petition, for all who wish to understand before signing.

END THE UNFAIR FROZEN OVERSEAS PENSION POLICY

Title of petition – End the Shame of Frozen British Pensions

Target of petition - UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and his ministers

Goal of petition - End the discrimination against certain British pensioners

 THE PETITION:

Some 600,000 UK pensioners resident overseas have their pensions frozen at the rate that applies on their date of retirement, or on the day they left the UK to reside in some overseas countries, mainly Australia, Canada and South Africa.  This petition seeks to end this immoral, indefensible injustice which continues to be perpetuated by Ministers for Works and Pensions.

British people qualify for their age pensions during their working lives by paying compulsory contributions from their salary into the National Insurance Fund.   When they retire they become entitled to receive their pension, which is based on the amount of their contributions.   If pensioners live in UK, or in one of 40 other countries, their pensions are increased every year in line with inflation.  However, if they live in many other countries their pensions are ‘frozen’ so that they do not ever again receive another increase.   Why?  How can this be fair?  This is not equality, it is discrimination, and it is unjust and irrational.  They have paid the same rate of contributions, for the same pension, as have the pensioners in the non-frozen countries.  What is more, they save the British taxpayer many millions of pounds annually by not living in the UK and therefore not benefiting from such extras as medical, fuel, transport, etc.   Many of them are now in financial difficulties because not everyone is eligible for assistance with medical costs, for a pension, or for citizenship in their new country.  Why should someone living on the border in USA receive increases in his pension while someone living on the other side of the same border in Canada does not receive those increases?  Why should a World War veteran have to live on 6 pounds per week because he wanted to spend his last years with his children overseas?  These people have all paid for their pension in advance.

Another irregularity is that certain pensioners have paid some of their National Insurance contributions as Voluntary Contributions, mainly because they left UK during their working lives but wanted to maintain their N.I. record in order to qualify for a pension.  Once again they paid for a full pension, and yet if they continue to reside in the ‘wrong’ country their pension is frozen.  What is even more immoral is that when corresponding with the DWP to make arrangements to pay their voluntary contributions, they were never told that their pensions would be frozen and that they were wasting their money.  These people could instead have paid into a private retirement fund which would never have been withheld from them.  Is this not fraudulent?  Did they not have a right to know?

The British Government gives the following two reasons for its discriminatory policy:

- Firstly they say that they cannot uprate the pensions of people who live in a country with which they do not have a bilateral agreement.  This is absolutely not true, as has been confirmed by the conclusions of the 1997 Parliamentary Select Committee, by the Freedom of Information Office, by a House of Commons Standard Library Note, and evenby the Minister for W&P admitting in Parliament that an amendment of legislation was not required, just a change of regulation.  The truth is that UK pensions are governed by the Pension Act which states that all pensions are based on the contributions that have been made, and it makes no mention of where the pensioner now lives.  So please stop telling us that you need a bilateral agreement before you can give us the pensions that are based on our contributions.  All that is necessary to remove this injustice is a simple domestic change of the law.

 -Secondly they say that they cannot afford to pay everyone equally, that it would be a burden on the British taxpayers.  This is also absolutely not true.  All pensions are paid from the National Insurance Fund, not tax.  The ‘frozen’ pensioners have already paid into that fund and they are only asking for what is due to them from that fund.  They are not even asking for retrospective payments to compensate them for what they have lost in the past.  All they want is to be treated equally and fairly from now on.  They want the freedom to be able to choose their country of residence and if they wish, to spend their final years with their children and grandchildren.  This will cost less than 1 percent of the annual outlay on pensions paid from funds currently in the National Insurance Fund, which the Government Actuary Report of March 2014 estimated at £27 billion - well above the working balance it is expected to maintain.  So please stop telling us that you cannot afford to pay us our proper pension.  We have already paid for it, into the fund, and the fund is in surplus, therefore our proper pension is easily affordable.  And please stop trying to deceive the British public.  They too, and their family and friends, may one day wish to join their children overseas and they have a right to know what will happen to their pensions when they do go overseas.

In summary, please discard this policy of ‘frozen’ and ‘non –frozen’ countries for paying pensions.  There is no rational explanation for it, and it has resulted in a deeply unfair and immoral state of affairs.  For those ex-pats who are affected by it, it has become an election issue and they are determined to vote only for the party that is committed to right this wrong.

To all fair-minded people everywhere, please sign this petition to show the British Government that you do not approve of its immoral, unjust and indefensible policy of discriminating against certain British pensioners, and persuade them to 'End the Shame of Frozen British Pensions'.
 

Vivienne Aird

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