CABP’s John Markham has been encouraging UK MPs to sign Early Day Motion (EDM) 1895 which was lodged in Parliament on 9 June 2011. The failure of many Conservatives to sign has been very noticeable and disappointing. Too many MPs have resorted to using the Dept for Work and Pension’s official view and replied to many of our members with the standard official response “that the ECHR rejected our appeal ruling that the UK Government was not obliged to pay inflation linked pension increases to expatriates and the UK Government continues to take its obligations seriously and is satisfied that it complies with the European Convention on Human Rights, so it has therefore no plans to make changes to current arrangements”.
Jim Tilley, Chair of the Australian BPiA has prepared a response to these MPs which members may use (ed: shortened a bit):
“Sir/Madame, I wish to comment on your response to EDM 1895 which you sent me from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.
“Notwithstanding the adverse 11-6 decision of the ECHR in March 2010, the law which denies some of us the up-rating does not impress “the man in the street”. Almost anyone to whom one explains this issue immediately says: “That is discrimination and it is not fair. You all pay the same National Insurance contributions so where is there any fairness in the treatment for those living in Australia etc?”. In addition, British folk who live abroad save the country £ billions annually in health care and other social security costs.
“Furthermore, when this decision was first broadcast last year, Dame Joan Bakewell was reported to have made the following comment, which puts the issue in a nut shell. “There is another view aside from the niceties of the law, and that is a matter of social justice. People who pay National Insurance contributions in good faith expect the same pensions as their contemporaries, wherever they choose to spend their retirement. Geography should have nothing to do with it.”
“Moreover, a Parliamentary Select Committee reporting in 1996-7, following an investigation of this same issue, concluded: “Surely no one would have deliberately designed a policy of paying pensions to people living abroad intending to end up in the position we are at today … A simple change in British law could enable upratings to be paid in any or all overseas countries provided the political will was there to do so.
“And another thing, Britain should be condemned for failing to comply with the declarations of Singapore 1971, confirmed in Harare 1991, by which all Commonwealth nations were encouraged “to use all our efforts to foster human equality and dignity everywhere”. This is in clause 8 of the CHOGM Singapore Declaration. With regards to our UK pension, equality is not being fostered by Britain!
“Britain claims that it governs with fairness and morality. However, having been exposed to the way in which Britain has treated some of us pensioners, i.e. not in the same way as those who have retired to some other countries like the USA, Israel, Jamaica, and Turkey, this is questionable, especially for the thousands of us who now live in the major Commonwealth countries. Britain is alone among OECD countries in discriminating between pensioners in different overseas countries. Britain, we claim, governs in a manner contrary to the ethos and principles of a fair and moral Government when the law, of which we complain, is used to deny us indexed pensions each year.
“As Edmund Burke said: “Bad law will triumph only if good men do nothing“.“