David Cameron this week promised to keep the triple lock on state pensions until 2020 if he is re-elected in 2015. The triple lock guarantees that pensions rise in line with inflation, earnings or 2.5 per cent, whichever is highest.
That’s good news for many pensioners, but not for the hundreds of thousands who live in overseas Commonwealth jurisdictions such as Australia and South Africa – as Sheila Telford, chairman of the International Consortium of British Pensioners, pointed out.
“The news that the Government plans to triple lock UK pensions to ensure a minimum annual increase of 2.5 per cent until 2020 is welcome and a step in the right direction for Britain’s pensioners.
“However, as Mr Cameron said, ‘I want people, when they reach retirement, to know that they can have dignity and security in their old age.’ This is what we are asking for the half a million British pensioners overseas living with their state pension frozen at the rate it was when first received overseas.
“These people will not benefit from the triple locking and will continue, in real terms, to become worse off with every passing year. Another half million pensioners living in other countries receive their pension fully indexed as if they still lived in Britain.
“All we ask is that Mr Cameron honours his commitment and extends the same dignity and security to all those who have paid their national insurance contributions to secure their future and now hope for the same treatment as their counterparts who happen to live in other countries.”
I make no apologies for giving up some of my column for Sheila to express her views. I agree with her than it’s time to end the unfairness. Are you listening Mr Cameron?