Fight to end poverty pen­sions for he­roes who re­tired abroad

Daily Express - - NEWS - By David Wil­liamson ●

VET­ER­ANS are call­ing on the Gov­ern­ment to end a pol­icy of freez­ing pen­sions as VE Day ap­proaches.

Back­ing them is ac­tress Miriam Mar­golyes who said it was an in­jus­tice that some for­mer ser­vice­men and women who re­tired abroad now have to live on as lit­tle as £40 a week.

Cam­paign group End Frozen Pen­sions is high­light­ing the plight of those whose state pen­sion is not up-rated to keep pace with in­fla­tion.

Peo­ple who re­tired af­ter 2016 now re­ceive up to £175.20 a week.

But for oth­ers, the value of their pen­sions are frozen at the level they were when they left the UK, un­less they moved to an EU state or a coun­try with an al­ter­na­tive ar­range­ment.

Miriam, 78, said: “Suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments have per­sisted with a cruel pol­icy of freez­ing the value of the UK state pen­sion of peo­ple who leave the UK to set­tle abroad, of­ten to be near fam­ily in their later years.

Ashamed

“This has plunged these pen­sion­ers, in­clud­ing our mil­i­tary vet­er­ans, into poverty. Some of those af­fected have been left to live on as lit­tle as £40 a week. We should all be ashamed that this per­ni­cious pol­icy has been al­lowed to af­fect so many of those whose ser­vice and sac­ri­fice shaped the free­doms and world we en­joy to­day.”

The group’s book Bro­ken Faith is ded­i­cated to the mem­ory of Bernard Jack­son, who took part in the D-Day land­ings as an RAF wire­less op­er­a­tor.

He moved to his dream home in Canada but had to re­turn to the UK af­ter his wife died be­cause he could not live on his frozen UK state pen­sion of £48 per week. He died two months ago, aged 97. End Frozen Pen­sions say that 520,000 peo­ple are af­fected by the pen­sions pol­icy. Nine in 10 of these live in Commonweal­th na­tions.

They in­clude Pa­tri­cia Coulthard, 98, who nursed troops evac­u­ated from Dunkirk and served in In­dia and Burma dur­ing the war. She gets £46 a week af­ter mov­ing to Aus­tralia to be close to her two chil­dren.

She said: “Like many of my gen­er­a­tion, I am not one to overly com­plain about the cir­cum­stances in which I find my­self, but the out­break of coro­n­avirus has brought into sharper fo­cus the ab­sur­dity and im­moral­ity of the UK Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach. I made my con­tri­bu­tions ex­pect­ing I’d be able to live a com­fort­able life in re­tire­ment.

“In­stead, I am un­able to af­ford the help I need dur­ing this cri­sis, in­clud­ing pay­ing for some­one to do my shop­ping and to help with clean­ing.

“That many peo­ple are try­ing to live through this cri­sis on scan­dalously low pen­sions should leave our politi­cians deeply ashamed.”

Her out­rage is shared by Sec­ond World War nurse Inez Minc, who is 98 and also lives in Aus­tralia.

She said: “As a re­sult of the UK Gov­ern­ment’s cal­lous and cow­ardly frozen pen­sions pol­icy, I re­ceive just £40 from my pen­sion. This de­spite mak­ing my con­tri­bu­tions and serv­ing my coun­try. I, like many of my gen­er­a­tion, served my coun­try dur­ing its hour of need. Yet now in mine they have de­serted me.”

Bar­gain

End Frozen Pen­sions said on its web­site: “It is high time that the Bri­tish Gov­ern­ment up­held their end of the bar­gain.”

And Jack Dromey, Labour’s shadow pen­sions min­is­ter, said: “It is ab­so­lutely wrong that those who fought for their coun­try should be de­nied the pen­sion they earned. Min­is­ters should put this right.”

But the Depart­ment for Work and Pen­sions said: “The Gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to up-rate state pen­sions over­seas where there is a le­gal re­quire­ment to do so. It would cost tax­pay­ers more than £3bil­lion over five years to change course on an is­sue that’s been clear and set­tled pol­icy for 70 years.”

For cam­paign in­for­ma­tion see www.end­frozen­pen­sions.org

Sup­porter...ac­tress Miriam Mar­golyes

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