Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 2 October 2014

Group calls for parity in pension payments

This week saw launch of an important new all-party Parliamentary Group, seeking justice for more than half a million pensioners who are not given an annual increase in their state pension.

Their crime? They retired to the wrong country.

How can that be possible? Shouldn't all pensioners who have paid in for years be granted the same pension when they retire? People who have retired to the EU or more than 20 other countries – including the United States and Mauritius – have their state pension increased each year.

But anyone who has moved to countries such as Australia, Canada, South Africa and a 100 more places has their pension frozen at the rate it was paid when they leave the country.

The problem is believed to affect around 565,000 pensioners.

That's just under half of our overseas retired community.

All they seek is parity with their, often, near neighbours.

The setting up of a Parliamentary Group with cross-party support is a key step in achieving justice for them.

Tory MP Sir Roger Gale launched the group with support from Labour MP Dame Anne Begg and representatives from both the Canadian and Australian governments as well as several pensioners affected by the unfair freeze were also in attendance at the launch.

Both Canadian and Australian governments have expressed support for the campaign but it seems UK ministers still need to be persuaded of the injustice.

All the pensioners affected want is parity. They're not asking to be repaid all the money they've lost over the years by having their pensions frozen.

Passions were running high at the launch. Sir Roger Gale said: "We're seeking parity at today's prices – a fair deal for lot of people, many of them elderly."

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