Unfortunately one unfinished piece of business that Tony Blair could not handle before resigning was the inequitable treatment for half of the UK pensioners who have chosen to live outside the UK. Since he was on record as a staunch proponent of the need to be “even-handed, fair and just in our application of our values to the world“, it was somewhat surprising that those affected are still forced to seek equity via the European Court Of Human Rights.
For those unaware of what is happening, a short video from Australia gives a quick summary. Ron in the US gets a fully indexed UK pension while Bob in Australia does not. Listen to them as they explain the situation.
As the latest issue of Justice For Expatriate British Pensioners (July 2007) explains, it should be a no-brainer for the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. The arguments are overwhelming:
- All pensioners have already funded their own pensions during their working lives, but inflationary increases are blocked each year for less than 5% of these pensioners.
- The cost of correcting this inequity would be less than 1% of the National Insurance budget.
- The National Insurance Fund has an accumulated surplus of ?38.5 billion, more than 90 times the annual cost of correcting the inequity
- A majority of Members of Parliament in a free vote would now support the unfreezing of these pensions.
- Pensioners who have emigrated are a lesser charge on the UK social services system so this anomaly which forces some pensioners to stay in the UK and not join their children in certain countries is working against the UK economic interest.
Clearly Gordon Brown has a number of weighty dossiers to consider, but this no-brainer should be quickly dispatched if he has a moment. It seems so inefficient that the European Court Of Human Rights should be asked to rule on this, when there are so many more arguable cases for them to consider.
If you or any members of your family are affected by this in any way or merely want to get involved on a cause that affects so many more vulnerable members of society, then contact by e-mail the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners or its Quebec representative, Mary Kapadia. Or if you are a UK citizen, you can sign the Petition at Number 10 at the link below.
FURTHER UPDATE: If you want to keep up the pressure, and why not, sign up for another petition that Roy and Joan Brentnall have started on the same topic. After all it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.