APPG Meeting – 18th April 2018

May 1, 2018 Emily Burditt 11 Comments

Frozen Pensions APPG Meeting

The APPG for Frozen British Pensions met on Wednesday, 18th April at Portcullis House. The agenda included updates on Parliamentary activity, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and Brexit.

The meeting was opened by Sir Roger Gale MP, and we were grateful to be joined by many other supporters, who dropped in throughout the session.

John Duffy and Jack Dromey MP

Attendees

  • Sir Roger Gale MP (Chair of the APPG)
  • John Duffy (Director of the International Consortium of Pensions)
  • Jack Dromey MP
  • Alex Cunningham MP
  • George Howarth MP
  • Rosie Duffield MP
  • Emily Burditt (Secretariat)
  • Hamish Campbell-Shore (The PHA Group)

Discussion

  1. Update by Sir Roger Gale on Parliamentary Activity

Sir Roger informed the group that since our last meeting, he has been in correspondence with both Malcolm Turnbull (Prime Minister of Australia) and Justin Trudeau (Prime Minister of Canada), and that had received letters from both Governments saying that they remain committed to achieving pension parity for all those entitled to a British state pension living in Australia and Canada. Sir Roger hoped that Malcolm Turnbull may have had a chance to raise the issue directly with Theresa May, but it was agreed that there was otherwise little hope of it being raised with her directly at CHOGM.

Sir Roger also reported that he is waiting for a reply from David Davis MP (Secretary of State for Department of Exiting the European Union) in regards to a letter he had sent him clarifying the position of pensioners receiving their state pensions in the EU, which will not be fully clarified until a final deal is done with the EU. George Howarth MP noted that he had recently submitted written questions on this issue and had also not received a firm answer.

  1. Update on activity from the International Consortium of Pensioners

John Duffy was then able to provide an overview of the activity of the International Consortium of Pensioners (ICBP).

The ICBP has been doing a lot of activity around the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, to which John Duffy has been a delegate. He has managed to get several questions asked on frozen pensions at the People’s Forum. The ICBP has also had an ‘advan’ patrolling Westminster with a message on about frozen pensions.

  1. Update on the Labour Party’s support by Jack Dromey MP

Jack Dromey MP, who is now the Labour Party’s Shadow Pensions Spokesperson, addressed the group. He confirmed that Labour is still in favour of unfreezing pensions. They will be looking to raise the issue at every opportunity. It was unfortunate that the SI could not be prayed against due to its effect on Carer’s Allowance.

John Duffy noted that he would be meeting with Ian Blackford MP (Leader of the SNP) and Mhairi Black MP (Pensions Spokesperson for the SNP) and would speak with them about tactics and working together on a cross-party basis.

Meeting Closed

Previous Post

Comments

  1. Neil Douglas
    May 5, 2018 - 7:13 am

    Was any question posed at CHOGM by South African representation ?

  2. Brian Corrigan
    May 12, 2018 - 8:58 am

    Jack Dromey MP, who is now the Labour Party’s Shadow Pensions Spokesperson, addressed the group. He confirmed that Labour is still in favour of unfreezing pensions.

    Yes, but will we be indexed from the time we left the U.K.?

  3. Jane Davies
    May 12, 2018 - 2:51 pm

    Brian Corrigan, as you well know backdating is the very issue that terrifies the UK government and stops this scandal from being addressed in a positive manner. Frozen pensioners have been denied many thousands of pounds in indexing over the decades, money they are just as entitled to as those who have had their pensions index linked from day one of their retirement, but demanding back payments has never been on the table.

    As for the ‘advan’ that patrolled Westminster, kudos to you Brian for this was your idea, it was a pity that it did not actually mention the words ‘frozen pensions’ and with the Windrush scandal hitting the headlines at the very same time I’m sure those seeing the van assumed it was referring to them and this has angered many who thought the wording devised, I assume by The PHA Group, fell short of the mark. Yet another let down for the frozen 4%. Onward and upward, the 4% fight on for justice and an ending to this outrageous scandal.

  4. George Morley
    May 12, 2018 - 3:51 pm

    Good question Brian Corrigan, as it seems that the Windrush people are to get some compensation then the recent saying ‘Why them -Not us” comes to mind. I feel that any politician that sees the frozen pension as bad must get more active and more verbal in parliament. Let us hear more from you please and not just sit on your hands whichever House you attend if you are honest about getting equality and justice for us. We should not have to get angry with those that support our claim and do not wish to do so but another year goes by and another. Frustration sets in !
    What about your Code of Conduct – is it serving any purpose or just wallpaper scribbling with no regard for its content ?
    Where is the Justice department ?
    Where is the Equalities department ?
    Where is the honesty and integrity of the Members of Parliament ?
    If we were all LGBT it would be headlines across the world but we are just deprived pensioners.
    Unfortunately those that care and stand up for us tend to get tarred with the same brush and I feel bad about that.

  5. Andy Robertson-Fox
    May 13, 2018 - 9:51 am

    I must agree with the comment from Jane Davies about the “advan” in that frozen pensions were not mentioned. Indeed, unless one was familiar with the campaign, there is nothing to show how the government is actually discriminating and Joe Public on the London Streets is still probably none the wiser.
    I can sympathise with the comments from George Morley and do feel that there needs to be a more forceful approach in the Palace of Westminster. Too often questions from MPs and Peers to the Secretary of State and Ministers for the DWP allow the responder to escape, for example, with the “meet legal and reciprocal obligations” or that “it is the long standing policy of successive governments” but are never properly challenged. Frozen pensioners know who gets an index linked pension, thank you, and don’t need these red herring type answers! Questions need to be directed much more at what is the government’s justification for freezing 4% of all UK pensioners rather than simply provide an opportunity for trotting out these banal discredited excuses.

  6. Anne Puckridge
    May 13, 2018 - 8:46 pm

    We must thank Sir Roger for his efforts to get the attention of Messrs. Turnbull and Trudeau focussed on the issue of frozen pensions despite little or no acknowledgement from them that they recognise the injustice as exactly that – injustice, and not merely a petty UK policy that only deserves lip service.

    All the comments above are valid and I fully support them, including the disappointing design of the “advan” which would have done nothing to inform the public about frozen pensions.

  7. Gordon
    May 14, 2018 - 5:14 am

    The background makes this impossible to read. Get your IT people on the case.
    Shame, because it would make interesting reading, I’m sure.

  8. Bill Zanetti
    May 14, 2018 - 12:24 pm

    Why not take campaigning in two steps as there are two issues?

    1) The APPG position of ending frozen pensions
    2) Backdating frozen pensions

    There is no justification for governments to have frozen pensions in the first place. Now there is inertia. Whether it is justified or not backdating might well be very expensive. Ending frozen pensions is a step in the right direction and helps all frozen pensions. Campaigning for both at once might well be seen as asking for too much.

    This is not a major issue for parliament, they might accept the ending of frozen pensions as a positive first step. Given all the other budget issues, try the less expensive option first?

    I am a new pensioner – I have not lost years of indexing.

  9. Andy Robertson-Fox
    May 17, 2018 - 2:52 pm

    Bill Zanetti the backdating is not an objective of the ICBP as the cost implication would run into many billions and such an argument is recognised as fınancially unsustainable. The case is simply for immediate full uprating at a cost of about £580 million. The government is petrified that if they concede to uprating they may be open to a legal challenge for backdating although legal advice indicates this would not be so. Surely it is not beyond the abilities of parliament, anyway, to ımplement legislation to uprate but which has a non retrospective clause?

  10. John Smith
    May 21, 2018 - 6:42 am

    I think any ideas about backdating are dead in the water due to the expense involved.I feel that,with the Brexit date impending, there should be a clear and unequivocal singular commitment to the uprating of pensions as soon as possible and then move on from there.
    I have been on pension since 2017 so have not lost years of indexing,either.

  11. John Livesey
    May 21, 2018 - 1:50 pm

    I apologise for my ignorance but does partial uprating imply an identical percentage applied to all pensions each year, previously frozen or not, or does it imply the single year currency increase applicable to the majority of pensioners which would have applied to others had the pension never been frozen. I had been under the impression that the former was the case but this would appear particularly unfair to the older pensioners receiving very low pensions who would continue to be disadvantaged going forward, in addition to the non-retrospective issue.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *