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I have just heard that the ICBP Facebook page has been resurrected but is no longer being managed by the expensive PR firm Champollion. And the additional news that I have now been un-banned from commenting on the page!!
A different kind of reciprocal agreement I think. More to do with extradition and treatment of prisoners than pensions anyway. There are Social Security reciprocal agreements between the UK and Canada, New Zealand and even Japan but none of these include the uprating of British pensions. There used to be a similar one with Australian too but it was terminated by Australia in 2001 because the UK refused to uprate British pensions there and the Australian taxpayer was picking up the bill for indexation (like Canada still is today).
The British Government has been discriminating against half the state pensioners living overseas for decades. They seem to think it is fair game to treat pensioners differently depending on where they happen to live. Now they are treating all state pensioners differently on the basis of when they were born and when they reach state pension age. It is really disgraceful. They believe it is OK to discriminate against people as long as they tell them they are going to do it. Wrong.
Andy - that is already a given. The NIF is ring fenced and the government continues to pay interest to the NIF for the use of its money they have borrowed to place into General Revenue.
I received a reply to my Freedom of Information Act request to the Debt Management Office this week. I asked them to confirm that the huge surplus of around £30 billion in the National Insurance Fund Investment Account is invested in schools and hospitals as politicians often tell us. Their response showed otherwise and that the money actually goes into "General Revenue" so it is not earmarked for schools and hospitals or any other capital programs. It is used to pay for wars with other countries, to pay for aid to overseas countries and to pay for MP's salaries and allowances and any other items of government expenditure. So next time you receive a reply about schools and hospitals you can reply that it is wrong and that it just goes into general revenue.
@ Golly - the coalition government has stopped child benefit for people earning more than £50,000 per year, so it isn't paid to millionaires. I believe the proposed childcare support will cut off for people earning more than £150,000 per year - not quite millionaires but still a bonkers policy that is a blatant attempt to buy the votes of women.
The huge surplus in the NIF of £30 billion is loaned to the UK Government. Perhaps we should ask the DMO who invest the surplus with the government to not do that anymore as the risk rating of the UK Government has gone from AAA to AA1. We could ask that the surplus be used for state pension purposes like unfreezing all overseas pensions instead, because investing with the UK government has become just too risky!
I went onto the 38 Degrees Facebook page and asked them when they are going to pick up the frozen pensions issue. If other people did a similar thing, or commented on my posting, someone from 38 Degrees might take notice. You never know.
Hi all - there is an epetition on the government's website asking for expat Brits to have their own MP in Parliament. I urge everyone to sign and ask your friends.
Hi Jane - I de-friended Stever Webb and Danny Alexander on Facebook ages ago! :-)
Several questions have been asked in the House of Commons in the past few days. It is possible for people to register on They Work For You (TWFY) and make comments. In the past little has happened when comments have been made. Perhaps if we became active in making comments of TWFY we could get something going. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2013-01-09a.135876.h&s=expatriate+pension#g135876.q0
Sicko...The age for qualifying for these benefits has been increasing in line with the increase in the women's state pension age. Currently it is about 61 years 7 months I think. Whilst many think this is unfair, the discrimination meted out to overseas frozen pensioners is much worse.
Interesting story in The Telegraph which require comments:
Britain 'agrees to open frozen pension talks' with Australia
Jane, I wish everyone could be supportive of the cause instead of petty back biting comments that have posted here.
The Google Adwords ads that I am running have been shown to nearly half a million people in the UK searching for keywords that include those interested in frozen countries, etc.
How are you going to finance your billboard idea?
I am not sure spending £50,000 on a one page advertisement in a UK newspaper, so it can be tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping or tomorrow’s bin liner, is the best way to go.
Now, if anyone does have a spare £50,000 perhaps we could use it on this idea:
I am currently experimenting with Google Adwords that allows a small advertisement to be shown to UK internet users only (so hopefully people living and resident in the UK), who search on things like Australian newspapers or Australian things, (or other things) and it shows the ad to them which takes them to our link if they click on our ad. I have two running at the moment, one with the heading “Britannia Waives the Rule” and the other stating “End Unfair Frozen Pension”. The first takes them to the ICBP website. The second takes them to the government petition website. The second also is targeting people who read Pakistani and Indian newspapers online from the UK.
The ads have been shown over 110,000 times in the past couple of weeks. We are not charged for the impressions shown. As at yesterday 188 clicks to the links have been made and we have been charged a total of about £85.00 in total on a charge by click basis. I am hoping that the clicks will lead to actual signatures on the petition but it remains to be seen.
At this stage I have a small budget agreed by the BAPA Executive Committee and I am using that. There is some scope for additional advertisements at little or no extra cost within our set budget.
So, if you can suggest any small ads that people in the UK might be worth shown with, say, an interest in Canada, Indonesia or Thailand or wherever, let me know the details and I can put up an advertising campaign to include that. I think this is a better way to spend advertising money instead of an ad in a UK newspaper that will be long forgotten and does not target the people we are interested in. In fact, we are not restricted to UK website – we can choose whatever countries we like.
For example it is possible to target people in your country who search the internet for something and you could advertise your frozen pensioner group.
It is possible to design our own advertisement with graphics, art work, etc. we choose and pay for, but the costs will probably start accelerating. Google Adwords also has a sort of bidding process for the cost of each click. Some, for example, using the keyword “Pension” or “Pensions” can cost up to £4.00 per click and we would be competing with rich pension advisers and the like, so we cannot compete with them. I am focussing on newspapers in the home countries for a starting point. I am restricting the cost per click to a maximum of 70 pence with many running at only 20 or 25 pence, some more fruitful ones at 60 pence and 65 pence. Our average price is currently running at less than 50 pence per click.
I am open to any suggestions from anyone.
I use Google Alerts for "frozen pension" but it has limited success for what I am interested in. I have far more success using the term "pension UK" which provides up to 6 relevant items each day.
Well Morgeo, I guess I don't appreciate people who are not even financial members telling us how to spend our members' funds. I agree that we are all aiming for the same thing. Is it really cost effective to spend the subscriptions of thousands of members to place an advertisement in a uk national daily newspaper? I would have to be convinced.
If you want the ICBP or Champollion to do that, you should take it up with the respective pensioner associations that you are members of, e.g CABP, BPAWC, BPiA or BAPA. If you are not a member of any of those organisations, why should they listen to you or commit their funds towards it?
In any event, as they say, today's headlines are tomorrow's bin liners!
@Chippy - in your list of countries you have included Albania twice. Peurto Rico is uprated, as is Virgin Islands (USA) but not the British Virgin Islands. I suspect that some of the French territories are also uprated because they are considered by France to be part of mainland France i.e. French Overseas Departments are uprated. Sark is uprated. American Samoa is uprated. Guam is uprated - not sure if it is on your list.
@Jane and @Andy: If you are a member of a frozen pensioner organisation, like CABP, why don't you ask them about what the "Ambassadors" are doing?
BME means Black and Minority Ethnic people living in the UK.
There are no individual members of the ICBP - only the 5 now 4 organisations in Canada and Australia - South Africa folded recently. You should direct your comments / suggestions / criticisms to the organisation of which you are a member - CABP, BPAWC, BAPA or BPiA. If you are not a member of any of these organisations then I would be prepared to represent you if you joined BAPA - AUD $25.00 one off membership fee.
I think there is a need for confidentiality because any change would require a budget allocation and that needs to be carefully handled.
There was a meeting between a representative of the ICBP and the relevant minister on 24/04/2012. Here are some revised notes:
Met with the Cabinet Office Minister. The meeting was most friendly and he confirmed that he was personally responsible for the issue of BSP indexation and that this was no longer part of Pension Minister Steve Webb`s responsibilities. The Cabinet Office Minister continues to be very supportive and he agrees with us that the current policy is unjust, unfair; he himself made the point that all recipients of BSP paid the same NI insurance and should therefore be entitled to the same Pension. I stressed the importance of the 8% of the electorate being BME and the fact that 65% supported Labour. Obviously the UK economy is in a parlous state; we did discuss the question of an age- tiered approach; I pointed out to him that if HMG started with the 85+ group, it would cost less than £100Million and would probably not attract adverse criticism – he took this under advisement. I also pressed him hard on the issue of Reciprocal Agreements, initially with Australia and Canada; Hague had rejected official approaches by Canada ( Cannon ) and Australia ( Carr ), however this was shortsighted, since the current freeze was costing both countries` economies. Reciprocal Agreements could be handled with the minimum of adverse media comment. Lastly we discussed a formal letter from HMG recognizing the fact that the current situation was unfair and illogical and would be considered for resolution as soon as the UK economy recovered; he would try and get such a letter to us within a couple of weeks but he had `to talk to George [Osborne] first`.
I know some people say they want "all or nothing" but anything might just be the thin edge of the wedge.
Hi All - I have circulated the AVAAZ petition to the ICBP member organisations to ask for their support. All have offered their support except for CABP for some reason. I think that we should support all avenues for getting this issue into the public arena. If there are any CABP members reading this, please email CABP and let them, know about the AVAAZ petition too.
There is a great article on frozen pensions in today's guardian - print and electronic versions - under Money
Andy - the evidence is overwhelming. DC has published a list of all those rich people he has had dinner with - he was very careful to say they were not "fund raising" dinners nor were they paid for by the taxpayer. That still leaves it open for people to have donated prior to the event. I think he is stoopid - he employed that ex News of the World editor and now this. He simply has the arrogance of power and wealth. His Chancellor is not much better - he wants to put VAT on hot pies and pasties but not on cold pies and pasties. It all relates to the ambient temperature - so a pasty could have VAT in Manchester on the same day as there is no VAT on pasties in London because of the ambient temperature difference!
The word is there will be nothing in the 2012 Budget for frozen pensioners anyway. I have edited the Wikipedia entry to show the revised surplus figure for the NIF surplus.
Let's hope you right Jane and it is the thin edge of the wedge. Working in our favor for once.
It all boils down to affordability. Governments work though budgets. There may not be enough political will to find £600 million but there may be, say £50 or £100 million available. I think the idea is that instead of saying "No" - we want to wait until everyone is treated the same, we pragmatically say "Yes" - we will take what we can and build on that. It might be better to have one sixth of something instead of 100% of nothing.
Sorry Jane, there will not be a surplus in the NI Fund of £114 billion this year - far from it but still substantial and enough to uprate all overseas pensioners. The Government Actuary Department admitted a year or two ago that their forecast was not accurate due to some errors in their assumptions. You can see their report by following this link:
The surplus is around £35 - £40 billion.
I have asked under FOI for details of the meetings from a couple of government departments but no information has been forthcoming, leading me to think, as per Yes, Minister, if it isn't in the minutes, it didn't happen.
I spoke to one of the 38 degrees organisers several months ago about this issue. It seems they take their rankings from a variety of sources including Facebook and Twitter, in addition to the 38 Degrees campaign website. I got the feeling they only took on causes they think they can win and with public support from UK voters.
Hi Andy - possibly but the ICBP does not actually have any "members" per se - it is made up of 5 (now 4) organisations including the CABP, BAPA, BPiA and BPAWC since the SAABP have folded recently. So if you are a member of one of those organisations you should be able to get feedback direct from them.
Hi Andy - if you are a member of CABP or BPiA, perhaps you should ask the question of them about the details of the working party?
Anne Begg MP (Labour) is the Chair of the Work and Pensions Select Committee which is very different to the working group.
Andy - the meetings have been between the Cabinet Office and the ICBP and include Treasury because they hold the purse strings. The Cabinet Office Minister involved is responsible for the development of government policy. To my knowledge the DWP has not been directly involved. The main issue appears to be convincing Treasury that there are savings to be made in the Department of Health (the NHS) and the Department of Communities and Local Government (Social services and housing) whereas the extra cost of unfreezing will have to come out of the DWP budget (the National Insurance Fund). I am not aware of Anne Begg MP's involvement in any of this yet.
I am surprised at the negative comments about the setting up of a government sponsored working group to look at the frozen pensions issue and hopefully find a solution that is acceptable to all. No other government has even come near to this development to the best of my knowledge. It should be seen as a positive step that will examine the Matrix Knowledge Report and the Oxford Economics Report that say and confirm that the government would make savings to the costs of NHS, Social Services and Housing if they encouraged people to migrate to now frozen countries by paying them an annually uprated pension. The meetings are organised by a Cabinet Office Minister who has responsibility for the development of policy for this coalition government and let's face it, nothing is going to change unless the government is on board. Forming a Working Party is a first step towards change.
Andy - I was merely providing some additional information about where the largest part of the problem lies - I want all British pensioners to be treated the same, no matter where they happen to live. Perhaps a CCBP might be worth exploring to put some targeted pressure on CHOGM. Good idea!
In terms of numbers of countries you are probably right Jane. However in terms of numbers of expat Brits affected, it is the Commonwealth countries that have the largest populations affected with the main countries being, in order of numbers affected, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.
The British Government has used its veto on a number of occasions to stop the frozen pensions issue being formally raised on the agenda for CHOGM. It states that it is not a Commonwealth issue but a bi-lateral issue between the UK and each individual country. There are around 54 countries in the Commonwealth and I believe 7 of those countries have pension uprating including the UK of course. If anyone wants to have a go at the British Government on this issue I guess the first port of call would be the British Foreign Minister, William Hague. Anyone is free to request information held by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on this issue under the Freedom of Information Act and requests can be sent to this email address:
You need to ask for information held by them on the subject.
Hi Andy and welcome back. You are half right in what you say. Public sector workers who were employed between 1978 and 1997 may have contracted out their Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP). If you receive the GMP as part of your state pension, then it is frozen along with the rest of your state pension. However, there is a special provision made by HM Treasury that public sector workers may advise the DWP who advise the relevant public sector pension fund and the GMP component is uprated each year. This is because the GMP was worded to say that it would take into the effects of inflation. However, non public sector workers receive the GMP as part of their state pension and do not receive the annual uprating on their GMP. This may be over simplifying the issue somewhat for the purposes of clarity and I am sure that James will correct me if need be. I have been doing some research on this issue by contacting over 100 local government pension schemes in the UK and the initial findings show that there are thousands of public sector workers who are missing out on their uprated GMP.
Well, it is Her Majesty's Government, so I guess she knows about it. If you write to her about it, the protocol is that her office refers the letter to the relevant government department, in this case the DWP, and they answer the letter. She might take notice if several thousand people write to her. Her Majesty The Queen
London SW1A 1AA
Frozen pensions is a subject that HMG uses its veto to stop being discussed formally at CHOGM because it says it is a bilateral issue. It ignores the fact that it affects 47 out of the 54 Commonwealth countries. ICBP, BAPA and another Australian pension association did get the issue raised at the Commonwealth Peoples Forum and also spoke at Speakers' Corner near to the CHOGM venue.
Here are several media reports of the issue:
If anyone knows of someone who wants to sign the ePetition but does not have an email address, there is a website called www.hushmail.com where you can create an email account quickly and easily and that account can be used to sign the ePetition. I hope this helps.
The EDM required to force it to committee needs to be proposed by someone of the stature of the leader of the opposition or similar. We could not get anyone of that stature to propose our EDM this year so it is a "normal" EDM if you like and expresses the views only of MPs. It is a pity that many of the Conservative MPs appear to have been "whipped" and refuse to sign this year. They have been given a script by Conservative Party headquarters on why they refuse to sign.
The ePetition was submitted in my name, so I was the first signatory to it. I do encourage all others to sign - one name per valid email address.
There is usually no actual vote taken on the two Statutory Instruments. They are "placed on the table" in the House of Commons and if no one objects for 40 sitting days they become law. Several years ago, we did manage to get the Liberal Democrat leadership to sign an Early Day Motion requesting the Regulations (which impose the freezing) be annulled. The issue then did not go through automatically but was debated by a committee specially set up for the purpose. As usual the government (Labour then) stacked the committee with its own supporters (probably in ratio of total number of MPs) and the Regulations were recommended for passing and were passed. It provided an irritation to government though and did not allow it that year to go through"on the nods".
Jane - the legal avenue has been travelled down through the Carson Case and 13 other litigants, all the way through the UK Court system and all the way through the European Court of Human Rights. We lost every case at every level. Each year parliament passes two Statutory Instruments, the Social Services Benefits Uprating Order which uprates all pensions. Then it passes the Social Services Benefits Uprating Regulations which imposes the freezing regime on all the frozen countries. So the freezing is law which is re-established each and every year. Unless some sort of alternative argument can be found, these cases we lost would simply be applied as precedent to deny us the right outcome.
The huge surplus in the National Insurance Fund (which does exist) can be seen at the following Debt Management Office website:
Click on The latest market values of the above funds are available from this website.The latest market values of the above funds are available from this website and you will see the NIF surplus, in actual cash, is £38.349 Billion. More than enough to pay for the uprating of all overseas pensions.
Gee, I hope no one mis-interpreted what I said and thought I was encouraging Canadian people to tick the box "British Resident or British Citizen" just because there are no checks on that. That would be, like, unfair, wouldn't it? Strangely, any citizen in the whole Commonwealth is entitled to stand in a British General Election, but they are apparently not allowed to cast a vote for an ePetition.
Jane - British citizens living overseas CAN vote on the ePetition. There is a drop down menu for country which includes every country in the world. Choose your country, select the box that says British Citizen or British Resident and you should be OK. All you need then is one valid email address per vote. I am not aware that there is any check on whether you are in fact a british resident or citizen - the only check is a valid email address. I hope this helps.
The ePetition on the government website was developed by members of the ICBP but my name was used to lodge it because I live in the UK and it caused less problems. The Howwe petition is still there but it is felt that it is inaccurate because it implies all expatriate pensioners are frozen whereas we all know it is about half who are discriminated against. The DWP initially refused out wording because of the Howwe wording but we managed to convince them ours was significantly different and was allowed. The new epetition is currently running at 5th highest in the signature rankings, so we are off to a good start.
I am trying to get the ePetition around to as many people as I can, using Facebook to let as many groups in Commonwealth countries know that we need their support.
The petiton by John Howwe implies all expatriate pensioners are frozen whereas we are trying to make the distinction that it is around half of them, living in mainly Commonwealth countries, who are being discriminated against.
I heard a BBC radio program several years ago and the panel was asked what they would like to see written on their head stone when they died. Theresa May stated she would like to see "She treated everyone fairly..." on her head stone. I wrote to her to ask why then, does she treat frozen pensioners so unfairly. She came back with the "boiler plate" response about not being able to afford it.
@ Richard - I am sure that all posters on this 38 Degrees campaign idea site would appreciate some more active support from CABP too. Like emailing all your members to support this campaign and not just the people who signed a petition last year.
The British Australian Pensioner Association (BAPA) also offers membership to ALL people affected by the frozen pensions issue and you can receive regular newsletters for a one off membership fee:
Payment can be received in Pounds Sterling as well as Australian Dollars. Please email email@example.com for more details.
All National Ins rance contributions go into the NI Fund (after a small percentage is creamed off the top to contribute to the NHS) and all state pensions are paid out of the NI Fund. There is currently a surplus balance in the NI Fund of around £40 billion. Have a look at http://www.dmo.gov.uk/index.aspx?page=CRND/Fund_Portfolio and click on "latest market values of the above funds". The government chooses not to use this surplus to uprate all overseas pensioners but as an easy source of funds to borrow for other government expenditure purposes.
The posting by Mike Lennard below has no basis in fact. There is no evidence to support the data that he has provided about asylum seekers in the UK. It is just right wing propoganda and has no place on this website.
@Mary Patricia Lynch - I hope you informed the DWP of your time in the UK and got your pension uprated to the normal level whilst you were in the UK as is your entitlement.
On a positive note, representatives from the ICBP and a UK economic thinktank have recently met with senior UK Cabinet officials who are responsible for developing policy, to convince them that the savings from NHS, Social Services and Housing far outweigh the cost of uprating all overseas pensions. This means that for every additional pensioner who would be encouraged to migrate to a Commonwealth country the government would make those savings. There are a significant number of potential mirgants who cannot migrate because of the current frozen pensions policy. This is one of the best developments for frozen pensioners in over 25 years, in my opinion.
After 2 unanswered emails and a telephone message, I finally was contacted back by a volunteer from 38 Degrees. She informed me that they use 3 main tools for identifying issues that they wish to take up as live campaigns. The campaign idea webpage (here), Facebook and the 38 Degrees blogs. She seemed to think the process was transparent but I could not see it. She said they have 800,000 members and try to gauge the most popular issues but they have to do it manually because they do not have the software for doing this yet. They are all volunteers and are unpaid. I think this is a work in progress now.
Both British pensioner groups in Australia, that is BAPA and BPiA, have informed their members about the 38 degrees campaign and many have supported it.
38 Degrees on Facebook is asking people which campaign idea they want to vote for. If you are a Facebook user, join up to 38 Degrees on there and vote for your favourite campaign. I have tried to identify our campaign idea using 2 different tacks. Others could consider joining Facebook and see what you think.
The Liberal Democrats said before the election that they would fix it. After the election Dr Steve Webb re-wrote history by stating that they said they "would look at it" which they didn't. He then went on to say that everyone knew about it before they left. So he thinks it is alright to discriminate against someone as long as you tell them beforehand. I asked the DWP about other forms of discrimination but they said I was drawing a long bow.
In order to vote on the 38º campaign site, you need to quote a valid email address. I believe that once an email address has been used and allocated a potential 10 votes, that email address cannot be used again.
@Meg - thanks for deleting all your posts - this is not a blog but a campaign suggestion site. We need team work if we are going to ever get a result and making personal attacks on individual people is not the sign of a team player. I thought you may had had some constructive ideas previously but I am unable to reconcile that with your lack of team playing ability. Goodbye.
Why not complete this survey on how the frozen pensions policy affects you?
@ Joan McConnell - you made a comment but did not cast your 3 votes. Please go back in and look for the voting box near the top left hand corner and allocate your 3 votes - you might be lucky and cast the 7,000th vote!
@Jane - I think the email address for firstname.lastname@example.org is incorrect. There are many government departments and many ministers in each department so that address would not be specific enough.
Try email@example.com which is the standard way the email addresses work for ministers in the DWP. If you want to know any other ministers / departments specifically, please let me know and I can supply them.
@Jane - thanks for sharing the reply you received. It seems they think they can justify the discrimination based on country of residence. Apart from the fact that they did not tell everyone who was moving to an overseas country that they would receive frozen pensions, just because they told you they were going to discriminate against you, does not make it right. If they tried that argument for some of the discrimination target groups they would be shot down quick smart.
@Roy Sells - pensioners in the EU only get the Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA or heating allowance) if they started receiving it in the UK before they left for the EU. If they retire in the EU and apply for the WFA after they left the UK they do not get it.
@Andy - I have been pointing out in the electronic newspapers in the UK that frozen pensioners are "second class" pensioners and soon to become "third class" pensioners when the two tiered pension scheme comes in.
@Beatrice M Jolly - not many Commonwealth countries actually do receive the annual pension uprating. Certainly not the ones with the high British expat populations like Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. There are some small Commonwealth countries like Bermuda, Barbados, Jamaica, Mauritius and one or two others but the greatest majority of Commonwealth countries are frozen like Canada.
The frozen countries are:
The uprated countries are:
@Jane Davies - our PR consultants advise against hijacking a special day like 11th November, as it may be seen to be a cynical exploitation of Armistice Day. The same thing would apply to the Royal Wedding. We need to come up with our own "day" probably. I heard everyone ignored the "Votes for Women" campaign until they started throwing bricks through windows.
@Chippy - as the proposer of this campaign I get an email for every comment made. I created a rule in Outlook to put them all into a special folder so they don't clog up my email inbox but I can see what is going on most of the time. Thanks for your input.
@Chippy - I have passed on your suggestion to the ICBP partners, so we will see what happens next. Your idea for an ICBP equivalent "blog" has my support.
@Jane Davies - there are no subscriptions to the ICBP which is a consortium. I think you probably mean the CABP or some other organisation, do you?
@Jane Davies - the national Insurance Fund, which receives all NI contributions and pays out all state pensions, has a surplus balance of around £40 billion in it at the moment. The money is loaned by the NI Fund to the Government and the Government pays interest to the NI Fund for the use of its money. This information is vefiable on the following websites:
Maybe the Queen might respond if someone wrote a peom to her about the frozen pensions problem?
@Phil Riley - if you write to the Queen she (or more correctly her helpers) simply refers it to the relevant Government department to deal with. I guess the same goes for Prince Charles and the rest of them. One future campaign might involve writing a bulk lot of letters to the Queeen. For example, she might refer the odd letter from a frozen pensioner, she might refer a dozen letters from frozen pensioners. But if she started receiving hundreds or thousands of letters from frozen pensioners, she might actually be forced to ask questions.
@Malcolm De Winter - we do try to stop the freezing regulations going through Parliament "on the nods" by trying to get supportive MPs to sign an EDM against them. On occasions it works and they have to refer the regulations to a committee for debate. No much consolation but at least we make it harder for them. Some Brits living abroad still pay UK tax, for example, those who live in countries without a Double Tax Agreement with the UK. And some in Australia also pay UK tax. If you can find out who the MP for the area you used to live in, it might be worth writing to him/her and letting them know your feelings on the matter. If you ever go on a holiday to the UK or EU you can apply to have your pesnion uprated to the proper amount for the duration of your visit. Some people use that to pay their airfares back to the UK or EU.
@Peter Cross - some people out of the UK still get their state pensions increased just as if they were living in the UK - 500,000 of them living in the USA, Israel, Switzerland,Turkey, countries of the former Yugoslavia, Jamaica, Bermuda, Barbados, the EU, etc. It is mainly people living in Commonwealth countries who get discriminated against!
- what about the fact that 500,000 pensioners living overseas receive uprated pensions and do not contribute towards the UK economy and the other 500,000 who also live overseas and have frozen pensions. Basically neither group contribute significantly to the UK economy.
Aziz Fazal - please use your 3 votes - click on the voting box near the top left hand corner of the page.
Barry Nobes - I am not sure why you are blaming the Australian Govt for this - it is the UK Government that is the problem. By the way, you don't appear to have voted for this proposal - please vote using the box near the top left hand corner and allocate 3 votes towards it to help it get up the ladder.
Anonymous comment - being a holder of a british Passport does not necessarily entitle you to vote in a UK General Election. If you live overseas you can retain the right to vote for 15 years after leaving - after that, British passport or not, you lose the right to vote.
Two young women in their 40's, friends of my wife, who both have Multiple Sclerosis have each been assessed by DWP / ATOS and have been awarded NIL disability points. This means they are the same as a 100% fit and healthy person. Their disability is not being recognised at all by DWP / ATOS in a cruel attempt to get them off the incapacity component of the ESA payment. Absolutely Outrageous!
2,457 votesJohnny Chatterton responded
We’re looking into a technical problem with the suggest a campaigns system.
Last night we merged this with another DLA campaign after being asked to by the people who had originally created the suggestions. This follows on from previous problems we had with merging campaigns.
Unfortunately last night there was a problem with the system and when we merged the campaigns thousands of votes were removed from the total.
I’m really sorry this happened. We’re looking into this and trying to sort it out.
Two young ladies I know with MS have been recently assessed by DWP / ATOS for the incapacity component of their ESA payments and both have been assessed as being perfectly normal, able to hold down a full time job and have been taken off that part of the ESA. It is disgraceful how the DWP is now apparently taking to underhanded tactics which are actually gross distortions of the truth and they are lying in their assessments in order to save money. Watch out DLA receipients - they plan to save £1.6 billion by 2014 from DLA recipients.