They're not voting because...
- I am a Sydney-based journalist and an...
I am a Sydney-based journalist and an expatfrom Sussex. My work over the last few years has included interviewing expat Britons who are victims of the UK's long-standing frozen pensions policy. Those expats have included the former London fireman, Arthur Holley, 93, who was decorated for his life-saving rescue work during the Blitz. He also contributed to the mandatory National Insurance Scheme throughout an exceptionally long working life. Yet as a result of the frozen pensions policy his British old age pension has not been increased, in line with cost of living rises, since he and his wife left the UK 20 years ago to join their three children who had all emigrated, one by one, to Australia.
I could cite many similar cases involving WWll veterans, including a Normandy Landing tank commander and a WAAF who served in Churchill's War CabinetRoom as an aircraft plotter.
The blatantly discriminatory frozen pensions policy only penalises expats who retire to Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most other Commonwealth and former Commonwealth countries. It does not adversely affect Britons who retire to EU nations, the USA, Israel, Turkey and most other non-Commonwealth nations.
It's outrageous that anyone who contributed to a mandatory pension scheme should be penalised simply because they choose to retire to, say, Melbourne rather than Majorca.
Frozen pensioners stranded in Zimbabwe on pensions that have not been increased in years are in particularly dire straits because of runaway inflation there.
It is so depressing to see elderly Britons devoting hours of their time, day after day, in writing letters to politicians and editors pleading for the rescindment of the frozen pensions policy. These people should be enjoying their retirement years, instead of campaigning for parity with the vast majority of their fellow Britons.
Please, even if you don't vote, protest on their behalf to your MP and local editor.
I am married to an Australian. I am no longer able to vote in UK elelctions because I have been absent from home for too long. This is despite the fact that I have retained my British nationality. Again, please speak up for Briton's impoverished frozen pensioners. Best wishes, Ava Hubblewritten 18th Apr 2005