Gollywobbler

Frozen British Pensions E-Petition

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    Hi All

     

    The ICBP is the International Consortium of British Pensioners. The BPIA are the British Pensioners in Australia, who are closely allied to the ICBP.

     

    The ICBP have recently started an e-petirion about the Frozen Pensions issue. Please see the link below:

     

    http://www.pension-parity-uk.com/

     

    The link to the e-petition is at the top left of the Home Page.

     

    The drill with e-petitions is that if they attract at least 100,000 signatures then the Back Bench Committee have to consider asking for a Parliamentary debate about the issue. Whem I addred my own name to the e-petition the other night, about 9,750 people had signed it before me.

     

    According to the e-mail that I received from the ICBP, the Daily Telegraph are supporting the e-petition and a PR company called Champollion are trying to garner support for it too:

     

    http://www.champollion.co.uk/icbp.html

     

    We need ALL the support we can get for this campaign - please, please, please.

     

    For anyone who is not aware of the details, originally the British Government said that the State Pension would be frozen for all British Pensioners. They said it would only be uprated annually for British Pensioners living in the UK. Someone went to the European Court of Human Rights. The ECHR ruled that the annual increase must be paid to any British Pensioner living anywhere in the EU or living in a country that has a reciprocal Social Securyty Agreement with the UK.

     

    The British and Australian Governments used to have a bilateral Social Securuty Agreement but that was terminated unilaterally by the British Government some years ago. So British Pensioners living in Australia do not receive an annual increase in their State Pensions.

     

    In 2009, there was an Appeal to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR but the Judges ruled that the ECHR is not competent to make a ruling when the Pensioner does not live in the EU or in another country that has a reciprocal SS agreement with the UK.

     

    The Australian Government supports the British Pensioners in Australia. They have been brilliant about expressing their unequivocal support.

     

    Prior to the 2010 General Election, Calamity Clegg said that he supported the British Pensioners and would make noises in Parliament, would change the law if the Lib-Dems were elected and blah blah. Predictably, the silence from him has become deafening since he became the Deputy PM.

     

    So - we have two different groups of British Pensioners - the Haves and the Have Nots. It is believed that about 250,000 British Pensioners live in Australia. All of them are Have Nots.

     

    Your support for them would be very gratefully appreciated, I can promise. We need to get the number of signatures up to 100,000 minimum.

     

    Many thanks

     

    Gill

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    Done!

     

    I'm sure this is something that will affect most of us, or our rellies, in the futureso it's a pleasure to be able to help.

     

    Incidentally, the number of e-signatures was 9,889 when I went on :)

     

    :wubclub: LC

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    It would be very expensive for the UK to do this and the burden would ultimately fall on its tax payers. You want annual increases in your state pension then go back to the UK or Europe and contribute to their economy.

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    Guest Kazzarazza
    It would be very expensive for the UK to do this and the burden would ultimately fall on its tax payers. You want annual increases in your state pension then go back to the UK or Europe and contribute to their economy.

     

    Well I hope you or your partner never want your parents to retire over here to live near you. The majority of these people were already pensioners before coming to Australia, having spent all of their working life paying taxes and contributing to the UK economy. Why should retirees in Spain or Portugal get CPI increases but retirees in Australia or Canada or NZ don't - we might not be in the EU (thank God) but we are still part of the Commonwealth.

     

    Thanks for the link Gill - we have both signed :smile:

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    Guest Kazzarazza
    i can't sign as i'm not a british citizen

     

    stevo

     

    Hi Stevo,

     

    You are still a British Citizen even if you have Australian citizenship. You should also still be eligible for a British passport as a dual citizen.

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    Guest Nick11
    It would be very expensive for the UK to do this and the burden would ultimately fall on its tax payers. You want annual increases in your state pension then go back to the UK or Europe and contribute to their economy.

     

    Isn't that exactly what they have done. To qualify for a uk pension you need to work full time for 30 years plus. These people helped contribute to the uk economy. Without them the generation before them wouldn't have had an oa pension. Seems very unfair.

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    Guest Adelaide_bound
    Isn't that exactly what they have done. To qualify for a uk pension you need to work full time for 30 years plus. These people helped contribute to the uk economy. Without them the generation before them wouldn't have had an oa pension. Seems very unfair.

     

    But what about people like me, who have only paid in for about 15 years? I don't think its very fair that the people left in Britain have to pay for me - I'm deciding to leave, why should others pay me for the privilege? A bit of a moot point though in our case as I strongly suspect there will be no state pension by the time me and hubby get to pensionable age (which will have gone up to at least 80 anyway by then...).

     

    And it is rather taking money out of the economy because that pension money won't be being spent in the UK, thereby damaging the UK economy quite a bit (depending on how many pensioners are overseas).

     

    The selfish attitude of 'mememe' is what has gotten Britain into the mess it is in already, we might be leaving but it would be nice imho to at least not do anymore to bring it to its knees so that our children have a choice whether to live here in the future or not.

     

    My two pence worth anyway.

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    This needs as much support as possible. Unfortunately I doubt if it will make much difference, as I have written to my Local MP in the UK. His reply indicated that he was not in favour of this due to the costs involved. It just seems illogical that pensioners in Europe or even America get increases to their pensions, whereas pensioners in Australia or Canada do not.

    I should add that although we have permanent residency for Australia having paid for a Contributory Parent Visa, we are now back in the UK as the thoughts of living on a UK pension with no increases and the dreadful exchange rate making the UK pension so poor, when it finally arrives in an Australian Bank Account, has put us off returning to Australia.

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    It would be very expensive for the UK to do this and the burden would ultimately fall on its tax payers. You want annual increases in your state pension then go back to the UK or Europe and contribute to their economy.

     

    Hi there

     

    There have been criticisms similar to yours, expressed in the Canada section of the Brtish Expats forum.

     

    With respect, a "Pensioner" is a person who has already reached retirement age. The Pensioners represented by the ICBP, the BPIA and other similar associations in other countries have already contributed to the British ecomony. Most of them did so for at least the 30 year mininum period required by the National Insurance provisions in the UK, which makes them eligible to receive the full amount of the British State Pension once they reach the UK's official retirement age, which is 65 for men and I believe that there is a sliding scale for women, in the same way as there is in Australia.

     

    The British Government started off by saying that British Pensioners will only receive the annual increments to their State Pensions for as long as they live in the UK. The Pensioners living abroad, spearheaded by a lady called Annette Carson challeged this assertion by the British Government by arguing their own case in the Europeal Court of Human rights in about 2007 or 2008. The ECHR ruled that the annual increases must be paid to any British Pensioner who lives in an EU country or who lives in a country that has a reciprocal Social Securty Agreement with the UK.

     

    This element of the issue is particularly felt over in the USA and Canada. If the British Pensioner lives in the USA, the annual increment will be piad by the British Government. If s/he lives in Canada, no uplift is payable. The difference is solely that the USA has a Reciprocal Socal Security Agreement with the UK but Canada does not. Half a mile can make a difference since the official Border is only about an inch wide.

     

    For the British Pensioners in Australia, the issue is slightly different. What happens in Oz is that if a British Pensioner has been a Permanent Resident of Australia for at least 10 years then the Australian Government will pay the British Government the difference between his/her frozen British State Pension and the minimum amount of the Australian Age Pension.

     

    The Australian Government are not happy about the fact that the Australian tax-payer can end up subsidising a British Pensioner who lives in Australia but the Australian Government believes that it would be fundamentally wrong to leave any Permanent Resident or Citizen of Australia to starve.

     

    One of he witnesses who apeared before the ECHR to ullustrate the "Australian Issue" is an old gentleman who has lived in Australia since 1972. Before he left the UK, he had paid his full 30 years-worth of National Insurance Contributions. If he were still living in the UK, he would receive the State Pension of £97-odd per week GBP. Because he has been living in Australia for so long, he receives £6.75 GBP per week by way of his British State Pension.

     

    Nevertheless, he had paid his full National Insurance Contributions before he left the UK, therefore he is actually sobsidising the annual increases for the British State Pensioners who live in the EU or in countries like the USA. Is it reasonable to require this man to do that, even though he does not get this annual increase himself? Your own argument says that it is reasonable for the man in Australia to starve in order to subsidise other British Pensioners who haveeither not moved away from the UK or who have moved abroad to a country where they will receive the annual increment. I don't know whether you have realised this but that is the inexorable logic of what you have asserted. The old gentleman whom I have described is in his late 80s or early 90s at the moment. It is not reasonable to expect him to work anywhere, with respect.

     

    If the British Government had their own way, they would not pay these increases to any British Pensioner who does not physically live in he UK. That was their starting position but the ECHR overruled the British Government's stance and the British Government considers itself to be legally bound by the edicts of the Judges who sit in the ECHR (several of whom have no legal qualifications either in their own countries or elsewhere.) About 500,000 British Pensioners are believed to live outside the UK. About 1/4 of them benefitted from the first Judgenent handed down by the ECHR.

     

    Ms Carson and about 13 others represented all of the remaining British Pensioners before the Grand Chamber of the ECHR in 2009. They were represented by Tim Otty QC, who did an excellent job. However the 17 Judges (some of them non-lawyers) from 17 different EU countries who together constitute a Bench in the Grand Chamber of the ECHR ruled that the ECHR has no hurisdiction to try the remaining issues. They say that the ECHR has no power to bind the British Government as regards the other countires involved, of which Australia is one - about 250,000 British Pensioners are believed to live in Australia.

     

    If there were an International Court of the Commonwealth or if the UN had a similar International Court then Ms Carson and her allies would doubtless go to complain to such a Court. However, there is no other Court they can go to now that they have failed in the ECHR. The ECHR made no comment about "fairness" because the ECHR said that it has no jurisdiction to get involved with the matter on any level. Most of the British Pensioners who still receive no annual increment are believed to live in Commonwealth countries, of which Australia is oe, as are New Zealand and Canada. A few live in Malaysia, under Malaysia's MM2H retirement visa. Malaysia is also a member of the Commonwealth.

     

    The Australian Government are hugely sympathetic towards this problem of disparity between different groups of British Pensioners and, obviously, they are particularly sympathetic towards the British Pensioners who live in Australia. The Australian Goverment have "made noises" saying that they do not approve of this on-going disparity but the Aussies cannot openly criticise the British Government, for the same reason that they would not put up with thatif it happened the other way around! So the Aussie Government are "silent supporters," if you like. If the British Government voted to end the disparity and to pay the annual increases to British Pensioners living in Australia, the Australian tax-payer's own financial burden would be reduced.

     

    Because there is no further Court to appeal to, it now comes down to whether the ICBP can persuade the British Parliament to vote for a change in the Law. To try to do that, they need to get at least 100,00 signatures on an e-petition. If they can get a strong enough e-petition then the Back Bench Committee might agree that the issue should be debated in the House of Commons. That would be a start, because the British Government will not change the Law unless the MPs in Parliament insist that they must do so.

     

    As a matter of interest, have you lived in Australia all your life or are you a skilled immigrant to Australia? My own mother has been a Permanent Resident of Australia since 2006. She has a Contributory Parent Visa, which cost $30,000 AUD at the time. This visa now costs about $50,000 AUD per person. The Aussie tax-pauer is not giving something but getting nothing in return, I can assure you. Mum has just turned 91. She'll be 96 by the time she is able to claim anything by way of the Australian Aged Pension - assuming, of course, that she might live to reacjh the age of 96, If she doesn't then the Australian tax-payer (including yourself, I imagine) will get a free windfall. However, we have been aware all along that this might be the case. I am not arguing about the actual money. I am arguing about the fundamental unfairness of the on-going disparity between British Pensioners.

     

    Regarding your own point about "where would the money come from," the Daily Telegraph's investigative journalists looked into this very question a few months ago. They proved conclusively that there is plenty of money in the British Government's "State Pensions Pot." Presumably it is being used for other piuposes - such as paying for wars of doubtful legality in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    But what about people like me, who have only paid in for about 15 years? I don't think its very fair that the people left in Britain have to pay for me - I'm deciding to leave, why should others pay me for the privilege? A bit of a moot point though in our case as I strongly suspect there will be no state pension by the time me and hubby get to pensionable age (which will have gone up to at least 80 anyway by then...).

     

    And it is rather taking money out of the economy because that pension money won't be being spent in the UK, thereby damaging the UK economy quite a bit (depending on how many pensioners are overseas).

     

    The selfish attitude of 'mememe' is what has gotten Britain into the mess it is in already, we might be leaving but it would be nice imho to at least not do anymore to bring it to its knees so that our children have a choice whether to live here in the future or not.

     

    My two pence worth anyway.

     

    Hi Adelaide Bound

     

    The clue is in the word "Pensioner." You are not a Pensioner as yet. Neither am I but my ancient Mamma is.

     

    As far as I know, the current legislation says that you should be entitled to claim a partial British State Pension when you eventually reach the British retirement age. I am not 100% certain, but I think this is the case. However the present Government have a proposal to pay all Pensioners £140 per week instead of £97-odd per week. Apparently, it will be necessary to have been employed in the UK and paying NIC in the UK for a minimum of 7 years in order to claim the £140 per week. At the moment, the only Pensioners who get the full £97-odd per week have paid NIC for at least 30 years.

     

    So I don't understand why Iain Duncan Smith wants to increase the amount whilst reducing the number of years' NIC that have to be paid first. I think it might be because of something called Pensions Credit. At the moment, somebody who has not paid NIC for 30 years is not automatically entitled to the £97-odd per week. However there is a minimum income guarantee for Pensioners living in the UK. Those who have no other income or savings can get £40 pw Pensions Credit, plus I think there might be an on-going entitlement to Income Support. I think the gist is that every Pensioner living in the UK receives about £137-50 each week.

     

    IDS says that he wants to do away with the system whereby Pensioners can still get £137-50 a week by claiming money from two or three different "pots." So it might be that reducing the NIC contributions to 7 years is a necessary part of the "new, streamlined solution." I guess he might be trying to say that unless people have worked in the UK for a minimum of 7 years beforehand, they will not be entitled to anything when they retire.

     

    However I'm suspicious of this "7 years." Apparently the citizens of other EU countries do not receive any sort of Benefits in Germany unless they have worked in Germany for 7 years first. Tony Blair decided that it was not necessary to impose a similar restriction for those who come to the UK instead. So why is "7 years" also suddenly relevant to future Pension entitlement? Is that just a concidence or does IDS believe that the ECHR will overrule him if he tries to say that people must pay NIC for more than 7 years? Maybe the Eurocrats believe that 7 is a magic number?

     

    I'm not sure. I also don't know whether the proposed new provisions will work retroactively. If they do then surely your own 15 years worth of NIC would entitle you to the full £140?

     

    IDS can't overrule the ECHR, so whatever IDS says will affect all the British Penioners who live in EU countries or in countries like the USA, because of the recent case of Annette Carson.

     

    Apparently this £140 per week is not going to be payable before about 2015. A recent report by the Institute of Fiscal Studies concluded that anybody in the UK who is living on less than £165 per week is living below the official Poverty Liine, since the IFS set the Poverty Line for the UK. IDS is trying to make out that he intends to give the Pensioners Good News. A lot of them vote Tory, so I iimagine that he does want to please them.

     

    However, I wouldn't trust IDS further than I could chuck him, including off Beachy Head. I have no doubt that his seeming "generosity" is actually a device to steal money from out of the Pensioners' hands. If they are living well below the Poverty Line, the chances are that they will become malnourished and cold in the winter. That'd soon kill 'em off earlierr than they mught otherwise live for, so I'm suspicious of IDS' attempt to dress himself up as a Fairy Godmother!

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    This needs as much support as possible. Unfortunately I doubt if it will make much difference, as I have written to my Local MP in the UK. His reply indicated that he was not in favour of this due to the costs involved. It just seems illogical that pensioners in Europe or even America get increases to their pensions, whereas pensioners in Australia or Canada do not.

    I should add that although we have permanent residency for Australia having paid for a Contributory Parent Visa, we are now back in the UK as the thoughts of living on a UK pension with no increases and the dreadful exchange rate making the UK pension so poor, when it finally arrives in an Australian Bank Account, has put us off returning to Australia.

     

    Hi Hayshake

     

    Is your local MP a right-wing Tory?

     

    My own local MP is Chris Huhne, said to be a close buddy of Nick Clegg. Before the last Election, Nick Clegg assured the ICBP that they could rely on him to support their arguments about this.

     

    Herr Huhne is too busy counting his shekels and bonking a woman who is not his wife for him to be able to spare the time to canvass his own constituents. He sends a bloke called Keith House round to do all the legawork. Everybody knows Keith House because he turns up on the doorstep regularly whenever the Lib-Dems want electoral support for something.

     

    So when Keith House rang my doorbell last year and started smarming up to me about the supposed virtues of his decidedly dodgy paymaster Chris Huhne, I asked Keith House where Herr Huhne stands on the British Pensioners Abroad issue? Mr House said he had never heard of the issue but he felt sure that Herr Huhne would be eager to help, since I pointed out that this issue concerns my mother, who is a lot dearer to me than either of them! Mr House gave me Herr Huhne's e-mail addy and urged me to contact his boss.

     

    I didn't bother. Right now, HM Coastguard are in strife and I support them absolutely. When I e-mailed Huhne abuot the Coastguard issue, he didn't even get a minion to acknowledge my attempt to contact him. He's plainly far too exalted to bother about issues that concern anyone except himself personally.

     

    Nick Clegg's promises of support for the Pensioners seem to have fizzled out completely - which was predictable. However Peter Bottomley seems to be willing to push for an Early Day Motion in the Commons. I've heard of Peter Bottomley but apart from his name, I know nothing about him (as yet.) However, have you seen the link on the ICBP website? If not, it is below:

     

    http://www.pension-parity-uk.com/news.htm#Media

     

    Apparently Chris Huhne has been nicknamed Herr Huhne locally because of his obsession with wind turbines. Apparently Siemens (which, as you know, is a German company) are making zillions out of constructing the wind turbine machines. There is a small company on the Isle of Wight that makes a few turbines each year but they can't make thousands of them in the way that Siemens can.

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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    I've just signed the Petition. The number was at 9,959, so it's rising. Come on people, get all your friends and rellies to sign up! One day, we'll ALL be affected by this UK Pension Freezing scandal, if we don't do something while we have the chance!! We need 100,000 signatures before they'll consider debating it in Parliament!! So don't just read all about it! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

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    Guest Nick11
    But what about people like me, who have only paid in for about 15 years? I don't think its very fair that the people left in Britain have to pay for me - I'm deciding to leave, why should others pay me for the privilege? A bit of a moot point though in our case as I strongly suspect there will be no state pension by the time me and hubby get to pensionable age (which will have gone up to at least 80 anyway by then...).

     

    And it is rather taking money out of the economy because that pension money won't be being spent in the UK, thereby damaging the UK economy quite a bit (depending on how many pensioners are overseas).

     

    The selfish attitude of 'mememe' is what has gotten Britain into the mess it is in already, we might be leaving but it would be nice imho to at least not do anymore to bring it to its knees so that our children have a choice whether to live here in the future or not.

     

    My two pence worth anyway.

     

     

    If you have only paid in for 15 years you will not be entitled to a full pension...only a percentage based on your contributions.

    Of course the pension money won't be spent in the uk...but if you're living outside the uk..in Europe...then really that isn't going to help the uk much either. Imagine if every British pensioner around the world decided to return to the uk..the Nhs would collapse under the pressure!!!!!

    To say it is a selfish attitude is wrong...when we all started school we were promised that if we worked and contributed to society and paid our ni contributions..when we retired we would receive a small, but regular supplement. The goal posts have been moved!!! Now if the British government grew some balls and looked after their own citizens first..they wouldn't be in this mess. OAPs are easy targets!!!!

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    Hi All

     

    http://www.pension-parity-uk.com/news.htm

     

    I've been reading some of the pieces in the News section of the ICBP website today.

     

    Sir Peter Bottomley MP is a Tory (according to Wiki!) He is wrong about the idea that British Pensioners could "live" in Australia by getting lsc 676 long stay Tourist visas for up to a year at a time and that they culd just keep on doing this. The Australian Government would baulk, so Sir Peter needs to stay away from offering advice about immigration to other countries!

     

    Apart from that, though, I'm interested by his comments. The USA seems to be an exception, presumably because of the "special relationship" between the UK and the USA. Sir Peter says that with all other Commonwealth countries, it depends on whether the Commonwealth country concerned was once a British Colony or whether it was a Colony of some other country in the EU. I hadn't realised that until I read his comments.

     

    My grateful thanks go to Alan Collett of Go Matilda. Alan has been following this saga for the last decade and has published several articles about it on the Go Matilda website:

     

    http://www.gomatilda.com/news/article.cfm?articleid=171

     

    http://www.gomatilda.com/news/article.cfm?articleid=192

     

    In the second article above, it seems that the High Court Judge said that the decision not to uprate the payments to expat Pensioners was a political decision that has nothing to do with the relevant Law. Apparently the Australian Government considered whether they should fund an Appeal against the High Court ruling.

     

    Then in 2008, the ECHR ruled that the pensions should be uprated for Pensioners living in the EU or in certain other Commonwealth countries, excluding Australia. The Australian Government responded with a formal Statement, supporting the British Pensioners in Australia:

     

    http://www.gomatilda.com/news/article.cfm?articleid=479

     

    Alan Collett will (hopefully) correct me if I am wrong but as far as I can tell, after that the Australian Government then concluded that it is a political issue, not a legal one, and that it can only be resolved via Parliament in the UK.

     

    Cheers

     

    Gill

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