OAPs abroad sue over eroded pensions

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The Independent Online

Thousands of Britons who retired overseas began their multimillion-pound compensation claim over the Government's failure to increase their pensions from rates set as long ago as the 1950s.

Lawyers for 430,000 pensioners living in South Africa, Australia, Canada and New Zealand told the High Court in London that the frozen rates of payment had left them suffering "considerable hardship". Richard Drabble QC said the policy was discriminatory and breached their human rights.

Mr Drabble told Mr Justice Stanley Burnton: "It is plain and obvious that a failure to provide such a substantial group of pensioners with any protection against inflation is capable of causing considerable hardship. It has already caused very considerable resentment and a burning sense of injustice."

Mr Drabble was bringing a test case on behalf of Annette Carson, 61, who is challenging a refusal by the Department for Work and Pensions to increase her state retirement pension annually in line with inflation because she lives in South Africa. Her legal action is backed by the South African Association of British Pensioners.

"In a significant number of apparently random examples the UK does pay retirement increases abroad," said Mr Drabble. He accused the Government of unlawful discrimination and breaching the 1998 Human Rights Act and the European Convention on Human Rights. The case continues this week.