APPG Minutes – 1st November 2017
November 20, 2017 Catherine Jones 9 Comments
Frozen Pensions APPG 2017
The APPG for Frozen British Pensions met on 1st November 2017 at 10am in Portcullis House. The agenda included updates on Parliamentary activity, the British Overseas Territories, and members of the ICBP who attended.
The meeting was opened by Sir Roger Gale MP, and we were grateful to be joined by many other supporters.
- Sir Roger Gale MP (Chair of the APPG)
- Sheila Telford (Chair, ICBP, from Canada)
- Brian Owles (Chair, BPiA, from Australia)
- Ian Andexer (Chair, CABP, from Canada)
- John Duffy (Chair, BCPA, from Antigua)
- Jim Tilley (Director ICBP, from Australia)
- Colin Rainsbury (Director, ICBP, from Canada)
- Sukey Cameron MBE, Representative Falkland Islands Government
- Sir Peter Bottomley MP
- Lord German
- Mhairi Black MP
- Mohammed Yasin MP
- Emily Burditt (Secretariat)
- Alice Jaffe (PHA Media)
- Beth Andlaw (PHA Media)
- Welcome by the Chair – Roger Gale MP
Roger Gale MP welcomed the attendees and gave special thanks to those supporters from within parliament.
- Discussion on Brexit Negotiations / State Pensions
The indication is that ex-pat EU pensioners will not suffer because of Brexit – however, this may only apply to those pensioners already living abroad at the time of Brexit and no decision has yet been formally reached, despite the Government saying that they would like to continue to uprate EU pensions. If this is the case, it will be hard to justify why pensions are frozen in other countries, including the Commonwealth.
An issue that many MPs have raised with the ICBP delegation is that of trade deals – and the APPG will support that.
The APPG will also support the Labour Party’s attempt to pray against the SI in March/April next year which freezes pensions. This is only a temporary measure as it would have to be done each year, but would send a strong signal to Government and draw attention to the issue. There is a real belief that it could be achievable.
- Campaign Update from Leading Frozen Pension Campaigners
Each member of the ICBP delegation introduced themselves and their role in the campaign so far. The ICBP also made it clear that their aim is to campaign for pension parity for all.
The group reported on their visit to the UK so far. They were impressed with a number of new MPs who were all keen to get behind the cause, and had been shocked to find out the issue. It is clear that there is support from the SNP, Labour and Green Party. The Lib Dems are being non-committal and the DUP have historically been supportive. There is still resistance amongst many Conservatives on cost grounds.
The group discusses the importance of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and agreed to ask parliamentarians in frozen countries to put pensions on the
agenda. Sir Roger Gale said he would write to representatives in Canada and Australia.
Jim Tilley noted that he was soon to have a meeting with Malcolm Turnbull and will raise the issue of CHOGM but also trade agreements.
The group also discussed the merits of having constituents to write to their local MP – on behalf of family members for example who may be affected. The MP meetings from this visit have shown us how tight time is for MPs and they really can only focus on issues raised by their constituents. It is therefore essential that expat pensioners use this connection.
Sir Peter stressed that there must focus on an overlapping approach – calling for parity whilst also promoting the role and contributions of pensioners make in each country.
- Update on Parliamentary Activity
Lord German noted that as well as praying against the SI, he will also soon have a question on the issue in the House of Lords, although the specific date is not yet known.
It was concluded that by threatening to annul the SI the Government is likely to want to negotiate a deal prior to March / April.
- Update on the Position of the British Oversea Territories
Sukey Cameron noted what an important issues this is for the Overseas Territories and can prevent people from being able to return home. She reported that she now had a legal opinion specifically on the British Overseas Territories which was shared.
She also noted that she had worked with Alex Cunningham’s office to get some Parliamentary Questions tabled.