Letter: Pensioners living abroad appeal for index justice

AS MANY as 108,000 British pensioners in Canada, and 242,000 more in 137 other countries where British pensions remain frozen, are no doubt dismayed at the damage done to Windsor Castle and its contents by that ghastly fire.

The amount of money it will take to make good the damage happens to be close to the total needed to index our pensions in Canada, and a quarter of that required to index all British pensioners around the world - amounts the Government claims it cannot afford. It is a trivial amount to add to the country's annual pension bill of pounds 30bn and for wiping the blemish from its one-time worldwide good name for fairness.

One hour before the fire, so to speak, the Government was in the most dire financial straits; one hour later . . . well, demonstrably, not really. Her Majesty has received a petition from a unanimous Ontario legislature, endorsed by the Ontario government representing 10 million people, asking her to intercede with her ministers to end the manifest injustice we suffer.

Forty-three per cent of expatriate pensioners have their pensions indexed, 57 per cent do not - and they have all paid into the National Insurance fund and served their country equally.

It is an emergency and many have not survived it, by which I mean they have died, waiting desperately over the years for the return of logic and elementary justice.

Benson Zonena

President, Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners

Ontario, Canada