19 December 2016
I have just read FairPlay 25, the regular newsletter of British Pensioners in Australia and a great way of keeping up to date with the fight for justice for British frozen pensioners. However, in this edition there was something that I can only describe as a betrayal of biblical proportions. This is the suggestion of partial uprating by Sir Roger Gale, who chairs the House of Commons All Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions.
The suggestion is that frozen pensions should be uprated on the frozen value at which they are currently paid. That would mean that the older retirees who get as little as £30 a week would receive an additional few pence while those who retired recently could receive extra pounds. That would mean that the pensioners who have fought for years, and financed the fight for parity, would get the least while the recent retirees who have done nothing would get most.
But there is an added twist. Sir Roger says that ‘gradually, over time, it would resolve the problem’. On the face of it that is true, but how would it solve the problem? It would solve the problem by ignoring older pensioners until they die and are no longer ‘the problem’. That is disgraceful! That is throwing on a rubbish heap to rot thousands of British pensioners, many of whom fought for Queen and Country in WW2 and then returned to help rebuild a shattered UK. Those patriots worked all their lives and paid into the National Insurance Fund for a reasonable state pension at a time when private pensions were few and far between. These are the British citizens that Sir Roger and the British Government want to die in order to ‘solve the problem’.
Sir Roger says ‘it would be a step in the right direction’ but that is obfuscation. For years, the British Government has avoided every approach and every effort by pensioners to reach a reasonable conclusion to the unjust, unethical, immoral and discriminatory frozen pensions’ policy. And this is a policy which is non-compliant with the United Nations Social Covenant. If it is handed partial uprating on a plate, the Government will wash its hands of any further improvement and any future ‘direction’ would disappear overnight.
This is the Judas betrayal: committing British pensioners to die without the pensions they paid for; ignoring those who have bravely fought for Queen and Country as well as for pension parity; treating British pensioners as collateral damage to be shrugged off as people who can be forgotten and left to die.
For less than thirty pieces of silver in today’s terms!
We must refuse anything less than the full uprating for which we have fought, if necessary accepting only a short extended period over which full uprating is paid equally and to all. Partial uprating is a disgrace to Parliamentary democracy, a disgrace to the England we knew and loved, a disgrace to every MP who thinks for one second it is a solution.