As part of an international campaign to fight against frozen British pensions in some countries, over 100 British expat veterans from around the world recently joined together to symbolically hand back their service medals to the British Government who has let them down. Steve Webb, British Pensions Minister, received on the steps of No. 10 Downing Street a manuscript documenting these 104 veterans’ record of service and a personal message from each of them.
Jim Tilley, Hon Chairman of British Pensions in Australia (BPiA), explains why many of these veterans feel so outraged at their abandonment by the British government and that many are prepared to hand back their medals.
“These British war veterans put their lives on the line for their country, paid into the mandatory UK National Insurance pension scheme and yet the British Government is unwilling to support these heroic individuals by paying them an indexed pension once they move to some countries overseas,” Mr Tilley said.
The UK has denied annual inflationary adjustments to the quarter of a million British expat pensioners living in Australia; however they do award adjustments to British expats living in many other countries including the United States, Turkey, Israel, Barbados, the Philippines and the European Economic Area. Apart from the injustice of serving their nation and being denied in their later life, further discrimination lies in the fact that whilst working in the UK they all paid the same compulsory contributions into the national age pension scheme.
“Sadly it has come to this; some people who fought hard for their country are even willing to renounce their hard won war medals. These brave veterans deserve better than to be robbed of their glory as well as their pensions,” said Mr Tilley.
“It takes ten years of permanent residence for these British expats to perhaps qualify for a partial Australian pension, and in the meantime they are forced to live week by week on a decreasing retirement pension income”, said Mr Tilley.
BPiA urges all expats to fight against this discriminatory behaviour by calling their organisation on 1300 308 353 and joining the organisation to support them in their ongoing fight against this British Government injustice.