Discrimination continues ...

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Paul Swain

Dec 31, 2020, 4:18:03 AM12/31/20
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Hi Everyone!

The UK DWP has released guidance stating that people moving to EU or EEA countries and Switzerland from 1 January 2021 will get the UK State Pension at the same rate as it is paid in the UK - see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/benefits-and-pensions-for-uk-nationals-in-the-eea-or-switzerland#uk-state-pension

So it looks like the UK is quite capable of negotiating agreements to uprate the UK State Pension when it feels like it, or more likely, when it faces a government, like the EU, that stands up for its residents and is prepared to make issues like pension payments a part of trade negotiations.

It's time for the Australian government to stand up for us, so please write to your MP and your Senators to tell them that

  • the UK has shown that it will uprate the UK State Pension for people resident in Australia if only the Australian government will stand up to them; and
  • it's time for the Australian Government to follow the EU's example and to use the Australia - UK Free Trade Agreement negotiations to ensure that the UK pays the UK State Pensions to which we're entitled.

Many thanks to Bob who posted about this on the BPiA Facebook group:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/1503078969991456/permalink/2565698193729523/


Sara Graham

Jan 13, 2021, 9:51:32 AM1/13/21
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Hi Paul,  the injustice you identified in your email  absolutely enrages me.  I have written to my former MP in England Kier Starmer and in Australia, Anthony Albanese, to absolutely no effect. When I raise this issue in the groups I belong to, here, like the U3A, there is no interest.  Although numerically quite large (250,000) we are not a powerful lobby group either in the UK or in Australia.  I think there are several reasons for this.

As far as I can see, there are no political or economic advantages to the UK in paying us our entitlement and considerable disadvantages. It appears they don’t have a legal obligation and they don’t appear to be moved by ethical considerations or those of social justice.

I am a self funded retiree largely  on grounds of the Australian superannuation payment I receive.   To be honest, although the the UK pension would be handy and enhance the quality of my life,  I am not dependant upon it but I am completely aware that many people are dependant upon it  and it would make a huge difference to their lives were they to receive the UK pension to which they are entitled.  But the absolute injustice of not receiving it and the spurious reasons given for this injustice by succeeding UK governments infuriates this. Given the means tested nature of the Aged Pension in Australia, although it would undoubtedly be financially beneficial to the Australian government for former UK residents to receive their full entitlement to their UK  Pension I suspect it does not affect Australia’s fiscal position sufficiently  for the government to be terribly worried about it.  It is the other expenditures incurred by older people like health care  and  aged care costs that are probably as if not more significant.

For these  reason I think the only way we might achieve success is by shaming the UK government.  I have been thinking about ways we might do this.  But  I can’t think of any because they appear shameless! Anyway this is a very bad time for trying anything because of the dominance of other issues like Brexit and Covid 19.

I have just seen the email from John Feltham.  It adds to my pessimism.  They just don’t care. I only hope others can be more positive than I.


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Richard Denton

Jan 13, 2021, 6:57:24 PM1/13/21
to 'clive walford' via BAPA, s.gr...@unsw.edu.au, British Pensions in Australia (BPiA)
Hi Sara and Clive and all BAPA members,

BPiA are working away in London using a media company and gathering some MP’s to the cause. Hard to really guage progress but there appears to be some. But I do absolutely agree with you Sara that ’shame’ is the weapon to bring about change. How to do it? Well a few of us over the years have tried various approaches. Speaking for my self just a very little bit I campaigned with hard copy letters to David Cameron then George Osbourne, Theresa May then to Her Majesty then to most cabinet members then to all MEP’s. The responses? Polite, even a little sympathy but the standard line...it’s been the policy of successive governments for the past 70 years and there is no plan to change. The arguments put forward in ours and my correspondence is irrefutable. They cannot deny there is discrimination and a perverted logic and so they don’t attempt it they just revert to the standard line shutting the door to any discussion or further engagement. There is a way of bringing about shame and that is publicity. Horror stories of aged pensioners living in dire circumstance on pittances. Comparisons between brothers one in the USA living a comfortable retirement and one in Canada struggling on his frozen pittance. One showing the comfortable health of MP’s and one showing the scraping and scrabbling causing ill health of the frozen pensioner. Joanna Lumley did such a fantastic job of shaming the government for its discrimination in pensioning the Gurkhas. Another story can be built here from the hundreds of thousands of Australian, Canadian, New Zealanders who gave their lives fighting for Britain in two world wars then being asked to subsidise the retirement of Britons choosing to live out their lives in the new world countries after having paid their taxes to the UK and their mandatory dues into the British Pension Fund. We have a lot of ammunition we can use if we can only find the way of doing it - and it is staring us in the face. It requires time a lot of it and money quite a decent amount to flood the media with stories of the injustice of this discrimination and to keep doing it every day every week. Personally I don’t see the way of trying to link frozen pensioners to trade talks is the way to go. There is no route, no leverage to say I will sell more of my wine to you if you will pay more to your pensioners living on the Gold Coast. Of course I could envisage the Australian government saying (dip speak)…We cannot see the way forward for the Australian Government to purchase £xxx,xxx,xxx of xxx,xxx,xxx if HMG insists that the Australian Government must continue to fund the retirement of the half million British pensioners living in Australia. Should this dated arrangement continue unchanged the Australian Government we will be forced to source our requirements directly with the EU. 

Enough for now

Michael Skully

May 16, 2021, 8:49:23 PM5/16/21
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Hi folks,

The Australian Financial Review, 17 May 2021, page 34 has a letter to the editor from Ava Hubble of Pyrmont complaining about the lack of indexation for those British pensioners that have retired in Australia.

There is nothing new but might give you an excuse to complain once again to your local MP.

Mike Skully

Chris Hill

May 16, 2021, 11:59:16 PM5/16/21
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With 500000 UK expats now being given back their voting rights now is the time for lobbying in Australia New Zealand Canada and India on frozen pensions. The UK is negotiating deals with 27 EU countries including social security and pensions and is actively negotiating 'free trade agreements' with the the above 4. There cannot be a better time for the big 4 to demand unfreezing pensions. Yes successive UK governments have had no conscience ignoring arguments based on host countries subsidising their citizens but Trillion Pound Brexit trade deals with all the profits Bozo promised his millionaire partners in crime could demand a rethink.
The return of voting rights could enable mass lobbying of UK MPs as long as expats register but real financial pressure can only be applied by host countries. IE 48m gbp is a small price to pay for Trillion gbp trade deals plus an up to 48m gbp benefit to host countries.

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