Fight to end Brit expat frozen pensions gets tougher as campaign ramps up

Published:  16 Mar at 6 PM
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Brit expat retirees in Commonwealth countries to remain on frozen pensions whilst those in the EU will get uprates.

As British retirees living in EU member states post-Brexit sigh with relief at the news their state pensions will be uprated, their equivalents in Commonwealth countries are being denied parity yet again. The British government’s press release on last Monday’s Commonwealth Day hit a sour note with its hollow message of a ‘common future’ coupled with its ignoring of the financial plight of retired Britons in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa.

Robert Haley, a 94-year old ex-British navel veteran who fought in WWII, earned eight British and three Russian medals for his bravery in protecting the Arctic convoys between 1941 and the end of the war. After he left the UK for Australia and reached retirement age, his pension was frozen at £46.90 per week and has remained so for almost 30 years, losing him a total of £62,000, an amount which would have ensured his comfortable retirement. Due to his wartime service in Australian waters, he receives a small monthly sum from Oz’s Department of Veteran Affairs, but is not entitled to full welfare and health coverage as are Australian WWII veterans.

The total of British pensioners being refused their entitlement to a full pension due to their choice of retirement destination is believed to be around 500,000, with the cost of uprating all of them estimated at over £500 million a year. Partial uprating comes out at £37 million, according to campaigners. The fight for justice will continue, with the minister for veterans’ affairs Johnny Mercer MP about to be approached for his support. Another British expat now living in Canada, 95 year-old WWII veteran Anne Puckridge, is returning to the UK this year to continue campaigning for fair treatment for all.
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