Features Australia

No way to treat an expat

British pensioners here are being discriminated against — it’s time to unfreeze their state pensions annually

14 September 2013

14 September 2013

Hundreds of thousands of Australian residents are now, and have been for decades, victims of a slow, creeping and remorseless injustice at the hands of the government of Britain. In opposition, British politicians are wont to bemoan the situation. In power, they always find that after all, nothing can be done.

The problem can be simply stated. Australian residents who have worked in Britain, and contributed to its state pension scheme, will receive far less for their money than most of their fellow pensioners. Why? Because whether a British state pension is indexed, and increased every year to keep pace with inflation, depends entirely on where the pensioner happens to live. The British state pension is not like the Australian age pension. Anyone who works in the UK is obliged to pay National Insurance contributions, quite separately from general income tax, out of his or her salary or earnings. This money helps fund the British social security system — in particular, its age pensions.

In Australia, employers are obliged to contribute to their employees’ superannuation. But the employees can make decisions about how that money is invested, and it remains theirs, not the government’s. They may or may not also qualify for an age pension, which, unlike the British equivalent, is paid out of general government revenue and is means-tested.

An Australian age pension is therefore a taxpayer-funded benefit paid to those who need it. A British state pension is an entitlement paid to everyone who has contributed to it: the amount they receive depends not on their wealth, but purely on the number of years during which they have made National Insurance contributions during their working lives.

But suppose someone who has worked for years in Britain chooses, at some stage, to live outside the UK? Say, in the United States, in Portugal, in Jamaica or in 47 other countries around the world? Some 630,000 British pensioners have made that choice, and it has not affected their pension income at all. Each year their state pensions are ‘uprated’ to keep pace with the British cost of living index, exactly as if they had remained in the UK.

But over 550,000 British pensioners live elsewhere in the world — 95 per cent of them in Commonwealth countries like Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where every city square and country town contains a memorial for those who died fighting for what used to call itself the ‘motherland’. Those people’s pensions are frozen. The amount they receive in the week they leave the UK, or, if they are already living overseas, in their very first pension cheque, will be the amount they go on receiving for the rest of their lives.

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Take the 102-year-old Annie Carr: she arrived in Australia in 1974 with a full pension of £6.12 per week. If she had stayed in Britain, or moved instead to the US, or to a country in the EU, or to any other country that negotiated a ‘reciprocal agreement’ with the UK back in the 1960s or 1970s, she would now be getting over £110 per week.

But she lives in Australia, and so she still receives £6.12 per week. She relies on the generosity of the Australian pension system to pay her an income on which she can actually survive.

A Liberal Democrat member of the British House of Commons, Steve Webb, addressed this issue back in 2004. ‘We have a contributory pension system,’ he told a Commons Committee. ‘We ask people to make contributions all their life to accrue an entitlement. Why should that accrued entitlement vary according to where they choose to live? The British Government is free riding on the welfare states of countries British citizens are moving to. We are asking other countries’ tax payers to support our pensioners.’

In 2007, Webb signed a House of Commons Early Day Motion that declared bluntly: ‘The freezing of pensions is wholly unfair, discriminatory and irrational’.

That was then, when Labour was still in power. This is now, and Steve Webb is the Minister for Pensions in David Cameron’s Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government. And now, the few hundred million dollars a year that it would cost to index half a million pensions — less than 1 per cent of the total cost of the British pension system — is too much. Webb says that there’s nothing he can do.

‘I’ve a passionate belief in equality for all,’ said David Cameron in 2012. He was talking about gay and lesbian marriage. But his passion doesn’t stretch to righting a gross inequality that has persisted for 60 years.

Both the British courts and the European Court of Human Rights have ruled — so far — that this is a political, not a legal, matter. But the politicians have generally failed to offer any justification, other than budgetary pressure, for the status quo. And as recently as February this year, in rejecting the British government’s position on another aspect of the pension system, the United Kingdom Supreme Court quoted approvingly from a judgement of the European Union Court of Justice: ‘Budgetary considerations cannot justify discrimination.’

Back in 2000, the Labour government’s Minister for Pensions, Geoffrey Rooker, was frank: ‘I am not prepared to defend the logic of the present situation. It is illogical. There is no consistent pattern. It does not matter whether a country is in the Commonwealth or outside it. We have arrangements with some Commonwealth countries and not with others… It would cost some £300 million to change the policy for all concerned — the issue will not go away.’ Indeed, it won’t. And now British pensioners’ organisations are lobbying Commonwealth foreign ministers to bring the issue up at the next CHOGM in November.

The Commonwealth Charter states that its members are ‘committed to equality and the protection of economic and social rights for all without discrimination’, and ‘are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination’.

The discrimination, in this case, is blatant. Until it is removed, the Commonwealth Heads of Government should argue, Britain should have its membership suspended. Perhaps even the threat might produce what 60 years of lobbying has not: enough shame to right a simple wrong.

Jonathan Holmes is a former host of the ABC’s Media Watch. As a result of National Insurance contributions he made in Britain in the 1970s, he is now in receipt of a non-indexed British state pension. People who worked in Britain, or who have an interest in this topic, should visit the website of British Pensions in Australia at http://youle.info/bpia-blog/

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Show comments
  • clive walford

    The UK governments have for over 50 years discriminated against UK expat pensioners living in some overseas countries, The present UK government, particularly Mr Webb the Pension Minister, is deaf, blind and stupid in the refusal to see that all the arguments for uprating all frozen pensions are fair and will give equality to all pensioners. After all equality and fairness is the government battle cry.
    The new commonwealth charter, that state that the commonwealth states are totally against any form of discrimination, is ignored by the UK government and their disregard for it is a disgraceful insult to the Queen who signed the charter in good faith.
    The Australian government will I hope call for the suspension of the UK from the commonwealth and will urge every other member state to follow them in that and demand that the UK follows the main aim of the charter and stop this disgraceful discrimination against frozen UK pensioners. (they make up roughly half of the 1.1 million expat pensioners. the other half getting the full uprated pension).
    One hopes that the new Australian Prime Minister and his government will fight the UK government all the way until Fairness and Equality without Discrimination is obtained.
    Mr Prime Minister of Australia, please take off the political kid gloves and speak out and act against the UK governments disregard for what the rest of the commonwealth agree with. NO DISCRIMINATION IN ANY FORM.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      And when you do pay up, HMG, don`t forget the back payments. What a bunch of cheapskates. Any private company that behaved in this way would have had a class action suit filed against it decades ago.

      • Andy Robertson-Fox

        The International Consortium of British Pensioners has made it quite clear that it is recognised that a claim for back payments is simply not viable. Realistically there is no chance of backdating, whatsoever. The campaign is simply for parity with today’s index linked pension rates in the UK.

        It was noticed that among the many inaccurate statements uttered by the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb, at the Scrutiny Committee discussion on his Pension Reform Bill disaster he introduced this very same backdating red herring in a vain attempt to defend his policy.

  • PossieJim

    With respect to William Wilberforce and adapting his speech in Parliament in 1791, when fighting for the abolition of slave trading;

    “ Never, never, will we pensioners desist till we have wiped away this scandal from the Statute books, released ourselves from the load of guilt, under we at present labour, and extinguish every trace of this immoral pension policy, of which posterity, looking back to the history of these enlightened times, will scare believe that it has been suffered to exist so long, a disgrace and dishonour to this country”.

    Visit http://www.bpia.org.au ; join us at BPiA to help us fund the ongoing fight against an intransigent, uncompromising miserly British Government, to achieve universal pension parity.

    Spread the message please about this so called fair, but very unfair British Government, which fails to ‘practice what it preaches’ to people in the Commonwealth, around the world.

    Britain deserves to be suspended from the Commonwealth until it “toes the line”.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Britain suspended from the Commonwealth; I like that.

      • PossieJim

        Good, then do something and join BPiA to help fund the ongoing fight to improve yours and thousands’ retirement incomes. Moreover spread this message to all your friends aroundthe world. We have requested in writing the Foreign Ministers of the 9 (CMAG) countries to investigate this issue without fear or favour and recommend Britain’s suspension from the Commonwealth for persistent violations of core Commonwealth values.

        Jim Tilley, Hon Chairman BPiA

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          I`m doing good work with my “UK Trash Culture” presentations, and generally discouraging Japanese from visiting UK.
          Hear me, HMG? Pay the increases (and don`t forget the back payments), and I`m back off on my one-person drive to damage Britain`s international tourism business.
          Jack, Japan Alps

          • Guest

            An obvious loon that the BPiA or the CABP can do without.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            That you, Jock?

    • Bonkim

      Suspension from the Commonwealth will be a relief.

  • Shetel

    Excellent article. It describes concisely the ludicrousness of the situation and the need for the British Government to stand up and do what is “right” Frozen pensioners and every one who stands for basic justice should be supporting this campaign.www.pensionjustice.org

  • Barrie Macmillan

    I totally agree with PossieJim and the other comments. It is utterly scandalous for the British Government to treat its citizens this way when they have paid into the compulsory scheme in good faith for many years and then get discriminated against on the basis of where they have later chosen to live.
    Why does my old school mate living in the USA get an indexed part pension when he retired 3 years ago, having lived there for 40 years and I do not, living in Australia for a similar lenghth of time? Despite his multi-million wealth, he cannot believe the British Government discriminates in this way.
    Time to throw the British out of the Commonwealth at the upcoming CHOGM meeting for their total and abhorrent treatment of its ex-pat age pensioners methinks!

  • Andy Robertson-Fox

    Excellent article which shows what an indictment of successive UK governments this frozen pension policy is.

    While clearly, and for good reason, it focuses on the situation in Australia there are over 150,000 frozen expat pensioners in Canada and others in New Zealand and South Africa – all commonwealth countries but how can it be justified not to uprate in those countries but to do so annually in Barbados but not Trinidad?

    There are of course frozen expats who do not live in a Commonwealth Country, but equally how can it be justified to index link in the USA Virgin Islands but not the UK Virgin Islands, in the Philippines but not Thailand?

    As Oliver Letwin MP and Senior member of the UK Government Cabinet Office said “It (the frozen pension policy) is a product of history not rationality.”

    The International Consortium of British Pensioners is leading the campaign world wide to right this injustice but I wonder how many Australian taxpayers are aware that they through their taxes, are subsidising the disgraced and dishonest UK government by over £75 million a year…and why are they keeping quiet about it?

  • protempore

    What an excellent article, the facts are there and should embarrass any UK politician who reads it, shame on them. Also excellent comments and I can only add a quote from Nick Clegg, UK’s deputy PM, he recently stated that “it is morally right to spend £12 BILLION on international aid”. That huge amount is paid out of general taxation from a country’s coffers who’s politicians say they cannot afford to give their own pensioners a decent pension to live on. But wait a minute, state pensions are paid for by those who have spent a lifetime paying into the pension scheme not general taxes and the pension fund has a surplus of £28 BILLION! So why is the British government refusing to treat all pensioners equally? Good question. There is no justification for this blatant discrimination and in trying to defend the indefensible the British government tell lies and have been allowed to get away with it for decades. Time now to suspend the UK from the commonwealth until they do the right thing, perhaps embarrassing the ministers will be the only way because the moral and principal aspect of this issue escapes them it would seem. Just do what you pledged to do Mr Webb before you became pensions minister and end this disgraceful blot on the credibility of the British parliament.

  • John O’Farrell

    Would I migrate to Australia to spend my twilight years in the nurturing company of my migrant off springs and suffer a frozen pension? Nah! I’d rather stay in the UK a with an indexed pension and be a continuing burden to the UK tax payers as I enjoy the free health service and all the benefits and concessions dished out to pensioners by HM Government.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      Excuses are like “””holes. Everybody got one.

      • John O’Farrell

        True, but not everyone appreciates sardonic irony. btw, I’ve lived in Australia for over 30 years and continued to voluntarily pay our NHI subscriptions ;-(

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          With a 30-year track record of living in OZ, it should be so easy to slip back in. Of course there`s always the rest of the world to consider.
          Jack, Japan Alps

  • monkeyhnger

    Not only did most of us pay into the N.H.S. scheme for over thirty years, Some of us also did national service in places like Korea, Malaya, etc, where you could get your head blown off whilst being paid 25 shillings a week. I returned from 2 years in the Malayan Jungles, and on being de-mobbed, was charged for a new shirt, as I had lost one of the 4 issued to me, prior to going overseas. We were told we were going to fight terrorists, but the biggest terrorists were in Westminster, and still are. Justice ?
    an totally unknown quantity in the U.K. especially for it’s native born citizens.

  • yambas

    If we went back and lived off the medical and social payments entitled to us,would that make politicians happy?

    • Dez

      Does any member of the BPiA have Glenda Jackson as their UK member of Parliament? If so, she is a current member of the Work and Pensions Select Committee and I am sure would be an excellent advocate for index-linking the State Pension for all British retirees, irrespective of where they live in their retirement. British MPs tend to respond only to correspondence from their constituents so an email from a BPiA member containing a copy of the ICBP letter to Steve Webb plus the Spectator Magazine article could gain us a much respected celebrity campaigner!

      • yambas

        Coincidentally I used to live in Hampstead and sent her numerous pleas by email and post and she never answered.

        • Dez

          Thanks for the response. That’s a big disappointment and a surprise as I thought she made her political reputation by speaking on social issues and injustice.

          • PossieJim

            Never be surprised by how a politician acts. Most of them are in it only for themselves and the power they think they wield. She’ll act on our behalf only if it suits her to.

          • George Morley

            This is a very good article and I have not been active in commenting until now for personal reasons. I must say that it seems that many of the negative comments come from people who are just ignorant of the facts and introduce a lot of irrelevant arguments which are of no consequence. I will not name names as they know who they are by the reaction in the replies they received. If they cannot see the basic argument without clouding the issue then they obviously have a blinkered view of justice and morality and would not know discrimination if it hit them in the face not to mention commonsense. These are the type of people who become politicians I guess.

          • PossieJim

            Thank you George for your contribution. I was a little surprised that there was not much argument from you in this discussion and I agree that as always there are those in the community who have very blinkered and bigoted views on this issue, but eventually I believe right will prevail. Maintain the pressure and we will eventually win. I believe I have discovered another potentially useful British journalist living and working in Australia who could be of considerable value to our cause. Onward and upwards.

          • George Morley

            And thank you Jim, I am not about to give up on this but occasionally the body does not co-operate. If the politicians think it will fizzle out and go away then they really are out of touch. As Jeff says, keep the ink flowing ! Cheers.

      • PossieJim

        I doubt it Dez. She has shown in previous years she is against our pleas for social justice. She is a waste of space in regards to this issue.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Well done Jonathan for once again calling attention to this HMG initiated injustice. You live in the US you get the increases, you live in Canada and you don`t. Australia you don`t. France you do. Outrageous discrimination; especially as it seems to be directed against those that elected to retire/reside in Commonwealth countries.
    But don`t imagine you can shame HMG into doing the right thing, they have no shame. So if you ever get the chance to pull a fast one, see it as a way of evening the score.
    Jack, Japan Alps

  • Russell Dale

    Is it any wonder that Politicians are held in such contempt, the situation is nothing less than scandalous, thank goodness for the Australian Government (in my case) that are prepared to step into the breach and support people like Annie Carr, I hope Mr Cameron and his Cabinet Ministers sleep at night.

  • Joan Matthes

    What about the inequality of the index linking on one side of a street in Canada and not on the other side in the States? David, get a big tick and raise this in parliament as a conscience vote – or you could just use the funds to increase the MP’s pension pot, I suppose! I won’t go into the other uses here!!!!

  • Jenny Rich

    I am one of the thousands of Australians who lived and worked in the UK for many years. I am now nearly 70 and retired in Australia, but my part British pension is not indexed and remains at the rate of when it was first granted. This situation is grossly unfair and urgently needs to be corrected by the British government.

  • Wendy H

    IN 1969 I married an Australian citizen in the UK. I paid the required contributions all my working life, including SERPS. My husband paid his contributions for the 30 odd years we remained in the UK. Not unnaturally, when we retired my husband felt that he wanted to spend his retirement “back home” and so we came to Australia – totally unaware that our pensions would be frozen. When my husband died, not only were the Australian Government supportive during his illness but generous to a fault, when I was able to claim an age Pension before my 10 year residency qualification was achieved. The UK Government should not expect other countries to do their job for them – this in my view indicates contempt for the Commonwealth, and they should be brought to account for this Perhaps being ousted from the Commonwealth will give the wake-up call needed.
    The final insult to me is that latterly I am now being taxed on a small personal pension that I have paid into a UK Bank Account.
    I would urge all UK Ex pats in Australia to join BPIA – who are doing such good work on our behalf.

  • Bonkim

    May sound unfair but inflation rates vary across the world and the state pension is included in total earnings and taxed. All that would be complicated and one assumes that those leaving the UK have done their sums, and situation regards social security, health provision, and income before leaving.

    Although related in some fashion to NI contribution, the pension is paid out of current contributions of the UK population – not from any income from investment of NI contributions. As in Australia, the state pension is adjusted to take account of the recipients income and topped up where necessary.

    You can make a similar case for those coming back to the UK from Australia and other locations after years of being overseas and not paying any UK tax or NI contributions but eligible for pension, Social security and health care.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      The only inflation rate that is appropriate and relevant in this matter is that of the UK. The State Retirement Pension is index linked to it and increases are paid to pensioners living in the UK, EEA countries and those sixteen other foreign countries including the USA, the Philippines and Macedonia. The rate of inflation in the pensioners country of residence is not part of the equation.
      The discrimination that is being perpetrated by the UK government is not connected to the “pay as you go” aspect of the NI Scheme but is against those who have contributed in their working lives on the same terms and conditions as everyone else but who now, in retirement, are denied the right to withdraw from the NI Fund on the same terms and conditions as everyone because Joan Matthes pointed out they live on one side of the street (frozen in Canada) but not on the other (unfrozen in the USA).4444444444

      • Bonkim

        Is this something to do with taxation arrangements between countries? One assumes people leaving the UK have detached themselves from the country – and UK pensions are for those living in the UK. You can’t have advantages in the social security systems from both countries.

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          No this is nothing to do with taxation arrangements between two countries. UK State Retirement Pensions are not only for those living in retirement in the UK but are for those citizens who have acquired a requisite number of qualifying years by virtue of making mandatory National Insurance during their working lives. On reaching retirement age one is entitled to claim one’s pension based on the number of qualifying years – the maximum for full pension was 44 years but has been reduced to 35 – and this is payable world wide.

          The bone of contention is that while annual index linking governed by UK cost of living rates is automatic in the UK, the European Economic Area and some sixteen countries as I mentioned above, uprating is denied in such Commonwealth countries as Australia, Canada and South Africa and many other non Commonwealth ones, too.

          The same rules on making NI contributions applied across the board to all when they were of working age but now, in retirement, the same rules are not being applied across the board to pension claims; the frozen pensioner gets no increases whatsoever after the initial payment in the host country. It is discrimination.

    • Dez

      Having paid 48 years of compulsory NI in the UK and still paying UK income tax on my pension income whilst living my retirement years in Australia, I think I tick all the boxes to justify an index-linked state pension that’s currently “frozen” at the rate payable 7 years ago! My income tax is calculated using the same rules as those applied to pensioners living in the UK.

      • Bonkim

        May be you need to form an association with others affected and take the issue through the UK courts.

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          Forgive me for butting in Dez but may I suggest Bokum that you read the article again? Does it not answer you already?

          • Bonkim

            Thanks Andy – yes this is a political matter simply because NI contributions cover a host of social security obligations including health, not just pensions. NI contributions are insufficient to cover current and future obligations.

            Thee beneficiary has benefited from NI contributions during period of residence. All social security and pensions are essentially supported by current contributions and general taxation – not from some sort of stand-alone investment pot.

            All benefits including pensions are subject to changing political priorities, and as such the logic seems to be that since people left the UK they are not subject to any discretionary payments – social security benefits are discretionary and dependent on the prevailing political will – can be terminated or varied depending upon political priorities.

            Unless one is resident, has a UK address, and on the electoral roll, I suppose the will of Parliament is that such pensions are not indexed. The courts would have otherwise made the indexing legally enforceable.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The NI Fund is currently in surplus of around £27 Billion and although expenditure exceeds income at present the Government Actuaries Dept advise that income will exceed claims again in a year or so. Pensions are funded from the NI Fund and there is no link to General Taxation. Political priorities – complete myth – exposed by over sixty years this frozen pension policy has been perpetrated.There is no logic in discrimination. The pension is not a benefit. If, as you suggest, one has to be resident, have a UK address and be on the electoral register please explain how those living in the fifty plus foreign countries where pensions are index linked meet this requirement. The courts determined this was a matter for parliament and a political decision not a legal one.

          • Bonkim

            We will not resolve this discussion via this blog – Best to write to the MP at the location of your last residence in the UK for a definitive view, and also what he is prepared to do. Same to Dez above – agree all that sounds discriminatory.

            Worth also taking the matter up with the British HC.

            Regards non-commonwealth countries, I assume there are bilateral agreements to deal with taxation, benefits, and health cover, etc. Commonwealth countries one assumes local social security applies to those who have emigrated or live there.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            You are probably right we will not resolve this problem on this blog but to clarify a few points, if I may
            Take it up with the MP in at location of last residence – done – and by very many different pensioners.

            Take it up with the British HC – done – bland referral to the Pensions Minister

            Bi lateral agreements are not common to all non Commonwealth countries and, in any case, the DWP has confirmed (March 2013) in a Freedom of Information disclosure that such an agreement is not necessary for the payment of index linked pensions.

            Whatever the local Social Security arrangements may be in either Commonwealth or non Commonwealth countries is not relevant on this matter.

            If you have not already done so may I suggest the you look at the web sites of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP) on http://www.britishpensions.com or that of British Pensions in Australia (BPiA) on http://www.bpia.org.au which, i think, will give you a much clearer picture of the situation and developments. They are both members and supporters of the campaign being run under the auspices of the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) You may not be aware just how varied and widespread the activities fighting this discrimination reach. .

          • Bonkim

            Given the prevailing economic stringency reluctance of the Pensions department is understandable. Opening up another stream of payments will be resisted unless there is a cast iron legal case. The rule has existed over decades and one can argue that foreign nationals or those emigrating from the UK signed up to the conditions.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Steve Webb, the Pensions Minister claims that the uprating of frozen pensioners in “not affordable”.

            Juliane Kokott, Judge Advocate General at the European Court of Justice, has stated the “Budgetary considerations can never objectively justify discrimination.

            In the UK Supreme Court this ruling was the crux of a ruling confirming pension parity in a case concerning part time judges and their full time colleagues.

            The question to be answered and totally ignored by government is simply why should some pensioners living in some countries but not others be discriminated against on grounds of non affordability?

          • Dez

            You’re absolutely right in what you say regarding this discussion. You are obviously interested in the pension issue otherwise you would not be reading this Spectator article and contributing to the comments. However, and with the greatest respect, enthusiasts like you are not the people I need to convince! Like you’ve suggested, I’ve corresponded with my UK member of Parliament and he puts up more brick walls against correcting the unfairness than an apprenticed bricklayer! The fact is that there are no votes in it and therefore, it’s in the interests of the British MPs to maintain the status quo and absorb the existing state pension fund savings from the “frozen” pensions to pay for other commitments in the general budget – like bailing out British banks after their reckless toxic asset purchases five years ago!

          • Bonkim

            Don’t jump to conclusions – I am interested in all aspects of society, economics and technology, but as you say unless there are votes, the political bods will not be interested. This clause has been in existence for decades – not a new one.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            You say that this clause has been in existence for decades – it is not new. True – disgracefully true. However, longevity does not make a bad discriminatory rule into a good non-discriminatory one.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            My former MP was Dangerous Dave Cameron. Do you think it`s worth a shot?
            Suck it up, Jock.

          • Dez

            Absolutely! Nothing to lose. Go for it!

          • Dez

            If that were true for all British pensioners who live overseas, then your supposition that the current situation is the will of Parliament would stand. However, the will of Parliament discriminates against almost 50% of British pensioners living overseas who have paid their dues throughout their working life in the UK. Also some, like me, continue to pay tax on their pension income at whatever rate the will of Parliament dictates. I don’t think any British pensioner would argue if the system that decides whether their State pension is index-linked or not was universally applied. The fact that some countries are “frozen” and others are not is irrational, illogical and wholly unfair for a country whose membership of the British Commonwealth is supposed to uphold the principles enshrined in the Commonwealth’s Charter of Equality signed by HM The Queen on the 11th March this year. UK residency is not a feature on who gets an index-linked state pension and who doesn’t.

          • Dez

            No worries Andy! You’ve covered the point I was going to say to Bonkim. The article above summarizes the current situation, particularly the fact that approximately 630,000 British pensioners live outside the UK and receive an index-linked state pension and yet approximately 550,000 British pensioners living outside the UK have their state pension frozen. By any standard, the current system discriminates against nearly half of all the British pensioners who have decided to live their Autumn years in certain overseas countries that successive British Governments have decided should receive a “frozen” state pension and they actually and consciously vote to maintain this situation each year!

        • George Morley

          I have removed my comment as it has been answered by Andy Robertson-Fox.

      • Dougie

        But what relevance is the UK rate of inflation to you? And didn’t you do your research before emigrating?

        • Dez

          As a British taxpayer, I still take an interest in the economic health of the UK. Yes, I did do my research. None of this is relevant to the irrational and discriminatory nature of the current state pension system which the Spectator article above which Jonathan Holmes summarizes so well.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Dez I would suggest to you (and Dougie) that the UK rate of inflation is of interest to all pensioners overseas – frozen or not – as it is one of the figures in the triple lock calculations used in assessing pension increases.

            Those who are unfrozen can then calculate what their increase will be and those who are frozen can calculate what they are being denied by government discriminatory policy..

          • Dez

            I totally agree with you Andy. The response I was making to Dougie’s comment tried to emphasise the discrimination of nearly half the British pensioners who live overseas, rather than get into a long drawn-out debate on individual points often thrown up as a distraction by politicians and others not directly affected by this ridiculous situation of “frozen” pensions!

  • Toby Esterházy

    The Queen is the United Kingdom and the United Kingdom is the Queen. As long as the Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth, the Queen cannot suspend herself from the Commonwealth.

    An hypothetical British suspension from the Commonwealth would, amongst other things, mean tens of thousands of old or middle-aged Australians and Canadians without British passports forfeiting their right of abode in the United Kingdom overnight, including Rolf Harris himself. The electoral roll would also have a few million names short, mostly those hailing from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, but had not yet been given the right to apply for British passports.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      The Queen is the Head of State in the UK. The UK is part of the Commonwealth of which she, too, is Head. It is not, however a dictatorship but a democratic grouping of countries and any member of the group can be suspended. This would be without detriment to her remaining Head of State in the UK or Head of the remaining Commonwealth countries. Unlikely but not impossible.

      I will refrain from comment on remainder of your somewhat hypothetical and unsubstantiated posting.

      • Toby Esterházy

        The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom could both in theory be suspended from the meetings of the Commonwealth, but not the actual Country. Like the Holy See of Rome and the Vatican City, the United Kingdom is a corporation sole, with the Queen in right of the Crown as its sole member.

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          I do not agree – if the other members voted in favour of suspending the UK it would not affect Her Majesty’s position as Head of the Commonwealth.
          However, let us beg to differ and wait and see what the outcome is of the call to the CHOGM on that issue and concentrate on the main grievance – the pension freezing.

          • Toby Esterházy

            As long as the Australians and the Canadians are themselves refusing to come clean and enter into Social Security agreements with more Countries abroad, Canberra and Ottawa cannot possibly countenance support except perhaps from Nauru, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tonga, Western Samoa, the Solomon Islands, New Guinea, New Zealand, Mauritius and the Seychelles (the last two both have a territorial claim on Diego Garcia). The Africans and the Asians have no fight in this, and I don’t see how the West Indians, Guyana or Belize would want to vote for the suspension of all those shiny British DFID aid money normally payable to them generously.

            Like Tokyo 2020 and most other previous cities, votes of this nature have to be “paid for”.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            If you don’t ask you don’t get…

            Both countries you mention, Canada and Australia have a Social Security system whereby they pay pensions to their expats. Australia tore up the agreement with the UK in 2000 or 2001 because of the frozen pension scandal and the UK refused to negotiate. Canada sought in 1976 to set up ah agreement but the UK demurred because it found fault in the Canadian Social Security system. Having rectified the problem the UK, in 1979, reneged on the proposal.
            The problem government is in Westminster – nowhere else.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Looks like Toby has just had his arse handed to him, again.

          • Brian Peters

            My friend, I never volunteered to pay National Insurance contributions, I was required to. Just because I live in Australia why should my rights to an index linked pension be any different to yours? Or the person who moved to Spain?
            And I’m sure if you visited Australia we’d be able to organise an hospital bed for you as well.
            Your entry is simply an uneducated rant.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Because the brutally honest truth is that there simply isn’t the money to go around without the need to cut even more public services and to raise taxes and NIC rates, the same reason for the refusal by the Australians to pay out the Australian Age Pension to more foreign Countries. Name me one other OECD State that also has at least 500,000 pensioners living outside her borders.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The brutally honest truth, Toby, is that the ring fenced National Insurance Fund is currently in surplus by about £27 billion pounds and has been in surplus for decades.

            The brutally honest truth, Toby, is that it is totally and utterly irrelevant where the 500,000 pensioners live; they have qualified by virtue of their contributions made during their working lives like everybody else but are being denied the right to withdraw from the same Fund on the same terms as everybody else.

            If they had remained within the UK or moved to an EEA country or to the USA or Montenrgro or Serbia the government would have no choice but to honour the “contract”.

            “Budgetary considerstions are not justification for discrimination”. (Juliane Kokott Judge Advocate General at the ECJ)

          • Toby Esterházy

            When the two National Insurance Funds ran out in 10-15 years’ time, then what?

            The will of Parliament overrides any legal judgment from the British judiciary, and it is called “Parliamentary sovereignty”.

            The National Insurance Fund of the United Kingdom and the National Insurance Fund of Northern Ireland are general-purpose funds. Pensioners have no more right to the two Funds like some preferential shareholders.

            Juliane Kokott is a German, an European judge and a Swiss professor with no real understanding of English law or the British constitution, and the ECJ is not an English Court. Like other European judges, her legal opinions are not generally accepted by the English Courts. As far as the legal opinions of foreign judges are concerned, usually, only the relevant ones from Justices and Judges from the English-speaking parts of Canada, as well as Australia and New Zealand—sovereign Countries with similar constitutions, similar laws and largely identical legal systems—are, and only under certain circumstances.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            But not when it breaches its own laws. That is why it is so important that Clause 20 of the Pension Reform bill is withdrawn on the proposed amendment and the current Regulation 3 of the Social Security and Welfare Standing Orders is abolished.

            The NI Fund is ring fenced and meets claims on it from a number of sources – sickness and unemployment for example – the principle one being the State Retirement Pension. Frozen pensioners are seeking the same rights as non frozen pensioners and in no way can that be deemed as being like preferential shareholders.

            Like you I have no knowledge of the depth of understanding that Juliane Kokott has of English Law or the British Constitution – apart, of course, from the fact that it was sufficient to form the bases of the UK Supreme Court judgement in the successful discrimination case in which the part time judges won pension parity with their full time counterparts.

          • Toby Esterházy

            No, let me put it in another way—”it must be reali[s]ed that budgetary considerations cannot justify discrimination” is not (yet accepted as) a valid legal principle in English law, any more than “possession is nine-tenths of the law” were a valid one.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            No let me put it another way way –

            Demot O’Brien v. the UK Ministry of Justice
            Before the UK Supreme Court
            Lord Hope and Lady Hale and three other Law Lords.

            Judgement 17 – 2 -2013 in favour of the appellant (O’Brien)

            Their Lordships stated :
            “The fundamental principle if equal treatment cannot depend upon how much money happens to be available in the public coffers at any one particular time or upon how the state chooses to allocate the funds available between the various responsibilities it undertakes. That argument would not avail a private employer and it should not avail the state.”

            Following the Supreme Court judgement Paul Epstein QC, who represented O’Brien, said :
            ” The court decided in the end that all those reasons (given by the government in defence of the policy) came down to cost and that cost can never objectively justify discrimination.”

            The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith and his Pensions Minister Steve Webb both maintain that index linking world wide is “non-affordable”. This is the only argument they have sought to put forward and both acknowledge that the policy is an anomaly and discriminatory.

          • Toby Esterházy

            The key words here are “that argument would not avail a private employer and it should not avail the state”. The fact is that the British social security system is NOT and never a private pension and mutual-benefits scheme. The pensions components are essentially all a Ponzi scheme, and would had been declared insolvent and wound up (liquidated) had any private employer, company, corporation, private trust or any other private organisation attempted to run such a scheme. Are you happy to receive a reduced pension, or to receive NO pension at all?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            No – the key words are “The fundamental principle of equal treatment cannot depend upon how much money happens to be in the public coffers at any one time…”

            I am sure that any so called ponzi scheme would dearly have liked to have run on a surplus of the size the NI Fund has shown for so many years.

            How could it be declared insolvent while showing a balance of £27,260,000,000 as at 31st August 2013?.

            It is not a question of a reduced pension or no pension but a question of an index linked pension at the appropriate rate governed by the number of qualifying years for which contributions have been made….equally fairly and justly like all those living in the UK, countries in the EEA and those benefiting from the red herring of a totally unnecessary reciprocal agreement.

            Perhaps, rather than simply trying unsuccessfully to pick holes in the case the frozen pensioner puts forward, it would be more beneficial if you gave some justification for this discriminatory frozen pension policy – the government can’t.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Once the British Government started full universal indexation, how many years would it take before the two National Insurance Funds dry up, bearing in mind also of inflation? 12? 11? 10? 9? Then, what?

            As much as I hate to say this, but if you are not clever enough to see this, then a pension is probably not sufficient for your needs. We are obviously going circular with the arguments.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            I see that you are still unsuccessfully trying to fault my case and have not yet produced the justification for this policy.

            As regards how long would the NI fund last is somewhat difficult to forecast – inflation, of course, is one thing but then again one has to try and take into account that the government borrows, through the DMO, the surplus the Fund has and, on current figures, the interest alone is sufficient to finance the cost of indexing per annum twice over.

            Another rather important factor in the equation is that the GAD assess that while expenditure has exceeded income over the past few years the trend is reversing and the surplus will start increasing again.

            Much as I hate to say this but if you are not clever enough to properly research the subject well, with the greatest respect, your knowledge on the subject is insufficient for your needs, if you get my drift.

            You may well be going round in circles but that is only because each “argument” you try and put forward is so easily demolished you have to move off at a tangent.

            My point has always remained constant – presenting the case against the discriminatory frozen pension policy and for which there is no legal, moral, financial or administrative justification.

            In the words of Oliver Letwin MP, a Senior Cabinet Office Minister, “it (the frozen pension policy) is a product of history not rationality.”

          • Toby Esterházy

            There is no proof that Oliver Letwin had ever said any such thing apart from your word for it, albeit under an alias of sorts. You are on your own make-believe, cloud-cuckoo land. The Marquess of Salisbury—on Cyprus—was right, in that—although only by implication and not his exact words—that the People who live on the green and pleasant lands of Northern Europe usually tell fewer lies than those who do not.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            My apologies to Mr.Letwin for slightly misquoting him although the content was unaffected by my minor error which you can verify – and note some other equally conclusive statements from current and former members of the House of Commons on http://www.britishpensions.org.

            followed by au/horace.htm

            I have no idea what your reference to an “alias of sorts” is meant mean.

            I have never been south of the equator in my life.

            I presume from the continued absence of substance in your postings that you actually have no argument to justify the current pension policy and you lack the intelligence to concede gracefully.

          • Brian Peters

            Ahh, Esterhazy…now that’s a good old British name….are you there under false pretences Toby? Are you taking advantage of my contributions?
            Are you a halfwit? Somebody can live in Spain or Italy or the US and get an index linked pension but if they live in Canada, NZ or Australia they can’t? Why?
            Simply put you’re just a racist twit adding no value to humanity.
            Disappear please….and quickly.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            For your information, Toby Esterházy is a fictional character from the John leCarre`s novel, “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”. A Hungarian whom Bill Hayden called a “poison dwarf”. Toby here seems to be superficially working his way through the works of leCarre; Karla, Karla`s man…
            How about Percy Alleline, a know-it-all Scot that was
            wrong about just about everything?

            There`s always Alf Garnet, another ignoramus that knew less than half of FA.

          • Toby Esterházy

            You are so hard on your trolling that you obviously broke one of the keys on your laptop.

            Why don’t you find some friends of your kind—you know, of your own age, of similar culture and backgrounds and speak your own language? You used to pen dirty stories for an adult blog in Bangkok (Stickman Bangkok) back in the year 2004, calling yourself “Jason”. What happened? Were you too raving mad, even for them?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            You know, Jock, if you took yourself to the “City of Angels” and got into the culture, perhaps you wouldn`t be such a bitter and twisted sorry-assed loser. Face it, with your “poisonality”, that`s the closest you`ll going to get to a sniff at the home comforts.

          • Toby Esterházy

            My name is a nom de plume.

            Yet you live in Australia, which has more Irishmen than Ireland, where more of less each and every one of the so-called “Old Australians” (but curiously enough, exclude the “natives”) look slightly Irish, and probably has more Irish surnames than English ones. British, you say? Right! Don’t wave the Union Jack about thinking you were John Bull if you don’t actually live under the British flag, mate!

          • Brian Peters

            Idiot. The correct terminology is the Union Flag.
            You really are a racist twit with all that silly crap about Irish surnames
            Esterhazy indeed….pfft.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Australia is about as British as Malta or Connemara!

            British emigrants in Australia with Australian citizenship can usually move to New Zealand to assume residence in order to resume the indexation of their existing British pension, so this is an absolute non-story. You can move ten thousand miles over to the other side of the World, yet unable to move a bit further East? Pull the other one!

            Why should the British Government save money for the Australian Government? So Australian companies can buy more British assets like Thames Water (owned by Macquarie’s Bank) and the Clydesdale Bank, you mean? If the Australians don’t want to pay pensions to the Poms with their own money, then why did they not turn you lot away?

          • Brian Peters

            You really are an idiot. I can honestly say I’ve never read such utter drivel.
            You can’t even get your facts right.
            By the way the indexed pension isn’t paid in Australia, NZ or Canada.
            Try reading the article – you may actually learn something.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Any shortfall would be met by the Australian Aged Pension until the assumption of permanent residence status, when the New Zealand Superannuation becomes payable, which would cover any shortfall as best as it can. A British pensioner in Australia without a private British pension or an Australian superannuation should not be subsidised by the British tax-payer in such a way as to be better off than an Australian pensioner without a Superannuation, and likewise, a British pensioner in New Zealand without a private British pension should not be subsidised so as to be better off than a New Zealander receiving only a New Zealand Superannuation. If Monaco, the French, the Belgians, the Swiss and the Germanic and Scandinavian Countries want to pay lunatic amounts of monies to pensioners abroad at domestic rates, that is their prerogative, and if they have the funds to do so, well then, good for them; but do not ever think that this is ever a right to be expected of from the British Treasury, Exchequer and Paymaster-General.

            Australia has all the money in the World to bribe Nauru and New Guinea, and to buy up British assets like Thames Water and the Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank, yet unable to afford to pay pensions to British-born pensioners (which were willingly and voluntarily accepted by Canberra) with Australian money? I don’t think so!

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The British Pensioner abroad is not, repeat not, being subsidised by the British taxpayer.

            The British pensioner abroad is being paid the State Retirement Pension they have earned by the number of qualifying years they have accrued in their working lives by virtue of their NI contributions.

            This pension is index linked but those living in frozen countries are discriminated against in that equal contributions are not honoured by equal pensions with those in the unfrozen countries. There is no justification for this.

            Private pensions are not in the equation; they are no concern of the UK government.

            The Pensions system operating in any foreign country is their own business and, again, is of no concern of the UK government – apart from the fact that in some cases they are subsidising a UK government that is reneging on its responsibilities.

          • Toby Esterházy

            And money grows on trees, too!

            If “the British Pensioner abroad is not, repeat not, being subsidised by the British taxpayer”, then, pray tell thee, most kindly, since Her Majesty’s Government had long privatised pretty much everything and does not appear to own any listed and traded shares or convertible foreign currencies anywhere apart from a single master account in Sterling by the Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury with the Governor and Company of the Bank of England, where did H.M. Government in the United Kingdom invest their pension funds in order to generate such good inflation-busting returns for tens of billions of British pounds sterling, so that millions of stayed-behind old Britons can also get a piece of the action? Or are the profits just simply phantom declarations of profits coming straight out of deductions from existing contributors, i.e., a Pyramid or a Ponzi scheme?

            Your reply is nothing but a verbose, geriatric version of “I don’t care! I want more!”

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The State Retirement Pension is a payment determined by the number of qualifying years accrued and is made in return for the NI contributions that have been made. It cannot, therefore, be a subsidy which is normally a gift, grant or loan.

            It is the role of government to determine the level of contributions in order to meet their obligations…as they have been called upon to do since the inception of the Scheme…an in the passage of time the frozen pensioners contributions financed but did not subsidise the pensions of our parents and grandparents.

            It is not a case if “I want more” but a case of “I want an end to this disgraceful discrimination and call for parity with pensioners living in the UK, EEA countries and that bunch of including the the USA, Turkey and Croatia.”

            As yet I (and I am sure other posters on this thread) am still waiting for you to justify the the frozen pension policy.

            The remainder of your diatribe is simply irrelevant bigoted tripe.

          • Toby Esterházy

            You are still explaining the details of a Ponzi scheme to me. A Ponzi scheme that happens to have £28,000,000,000 in reserves or surplus is still a Ponzi scheme.

            You get what you originally paid in, with a minimal interest below the market rate and set by the National Savings and Investments Bank at London, Blackpool, Durham and Glasgow. The rest and any of the indexation stuff are all declarations of phantom profits, paid for by the contributions of the current generation, until it all goes bust.

            It is also not bigotry to point out that a Country that votes for the suspension of the United Kingdom from the British Commonwealth of Nations should expect their British assets be frozen under Anti-Terrorism legislation (Terrorism Act 2001 c. 24, Part 2, Section 4, Subsection 2A)—last used against the Republic of Iceland in the year 2008—including such companies and corporations as Thames Water (owned by Macquarie Bank) and the Clydesdale/Yorkshire Bank (owned by the National Australia Bank). A very dangerous game to play, I would say.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Anti Terrorism Act….what pathetic rubbish!

            Pathetic rubbish like the rest if your posting and with a current £28billion surplus and forecast rise in the NI Fund call it ponzi or whatever you like; it makes no difference to the facts as have been laid out in the article and by myself and others in this thread.

            However you have still to give the justification for the frozen pension policy which victimises just 4% of all UK pensioners and almost 50% of those who live overseas.

            We are waiting but in the absence of a substantive rather than just opinionated justification I will bid you goodbye.

            While I may respond to other but more rational posters I shall leave you in your own little delusional world.

          • Toby Esterházy

            “(The first condition is that the Treasury reasonably believe that) action to the detriment of the United Kingdom’s economy (or part of it) has been or is likely to be taken by a person or persons, or …”
            (https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2001/24/section/4#openingWholeMod )

            If Australia were mad and impertinent enough to try to suspend the old Mother Country from her own Commonwealth, her own party, then all gloves would then be off, would they be not?

            Canberra is more than welcome to try to freeze the London half of Rio Tinto in retaliation, but they should remember that the Chinese (Chinalco) own their portion of Rio Tinto through the London listing rather than Sydney, and when the Chinese are cross, Australians in China (Stern Hu, although of Chinese birth) suddenly get hurt.

            I am no more insane than those who think that to demand a GBP £650,000,000 pay rise when Britannia is still on one of her worst recessions since the 1930s is somehow acceptable. I suppose that the words “pack it in” have not yet entered the Australian or Canadian vocabulary. The campaign of your lot cannot have been more ill-timed, can it?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            And among all this garbage there is still no substantive justification for the discriminatory frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            No more free hospital meals, introduction of school tuition fees, no more free school meals, no more school canteens, no loo rolls in school toilets, DVDs instead of proper textbooks, no more housing benefits … Need I go on? The money has to be found from somewhere, does it not, or should H.M. Government just borrow more and more every single year from the Chinese to cover the GBP £650,000,000 per annum like there is no tomorrow, without intention of ever repaying it?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            That is not justification for discrimination against some pensioners but may bean argument to justify all pensions to be frozen. – although none of the items you quote are funded from the NI but from General Taxation.

            Your substantive justification for the discrimination is what you have been asked for and failed to provide.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Yet even the Anglophobic Justices and judges of the notoriously anti-British European Court of Human Rights had to throw your case out, so to speak. You sound as if your group have won both the legal and moral argument, but in fact your group haven’t.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Oh there is no question that in the eyes of the ratonal thinking public and even a considerable number of MP’s the legal and moral argument has been won long since; it is simply the intransigence of the UK government that is the obstacle. The perverse ruling from the ECHR did not condone the discrimination but that it was not breaking UK law which permitted the government to determine whether or not to pay pensions abroad.

            But that is still not substantive justification for implementing a discriminatory pensions policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Backbenchers and opposition parties will promise everything to everyone, only to renege on them once they are in the Front Bench or in Government.

            Give it another five to seven years. Now really is not a good time. Your group is shooting yourselves in the foot, unless MI5 or MI6/SIS had infiltrated your group, and this is the intention all along.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            After fighting for between ten and fifteen years this is certainly not the time to stop and the suggestion does not constitute justification for the policy which you have still not provided.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Perhaps your group of fanatics just absolutely refuse to hear or entertain it. There is not a written and codified British Constitution or a British Bill of Rights, and human rights are never regarded as absolute as they are over in Canada, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

            Forget it! Your group’s campaign is about as popular as Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Mormons, the Moonies or the Hare Krishnas. Most back in your native Country don’t really care about your group, and the few that can be **sed see you lot as nothing but a bit of a minor nuisance, quite frankly. Your campaign never had much support if your lot had to rely your hopes on the lying Lib Dems previously.

            Australia is now closed to independent retired pensioners, and children, as sponsors, are expected to financially provide and support the parents brought into Australia on Subclasses 103 and 143 Australian Parental visas, so any justification to give indexation to the more recent arrivals on those kinds of visas are now gone.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            We are not fanatics as we do not have extreme, unreasoned enthusiasm, just a determinati0n for fairness, justice and equality. Your assertion is not justification for the frozen pension policy.

            Whether the British constitution is written or codified has no relevance in this issue. Your assertion on human rights does not constitute justification for the current pension policy.

            Your comparison of the ICBP with various groups is a personal opinion and, warped though it is, is not justification for the discrimination currently being perpetrated by the UK government.

            An amendment to the Pension Reform Bill to withdraw Clause 20 and thereby abolish pension freezing is being tabled by two Conservative MP’s and EDM 1895/2011 (also calling for abolition) had cross party support. There is no reliance on any one party and your views are, of course your own opinion and not justification for the policy.

            The situation regarding retired pensioners is entirely their own affair and is of no concern of the UK government; it does not constitute justification for the frozen pension policy.

            There was a unilateral change in the terms. It was only in 1955 that pensions became payable world wide but, be that as it may, longevity of a discriminatory bad rule does not automatically make it a non-discriminatory good rule. Again no justification for the policy.

            Just because you think abolition of pension freezing will never happen does not mean that anyone has to agree with you. Bear in mind that a considerable number of those eligible to vote in the UK come from those overseas countries you seem to despise…and what you think does not constitute justification for the frozen pension policy.

            So we all await with baited breath a sound, reasoned and sustainable case from Toby Esterhazy. He ended up being disgraced too, you know, not just Bill Hayden. A sound reasoned and sustainable case to justify the policy; it will make a change from all previous evasive undiluted trash he has submitted thus far.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Play the ball, not the man like your Australian-based friend who sounds like he likes to have a good rant at me at night after an evening bender down in an Australian Irish Pub downing Foster’s and Guinness, after spending the whole afternoon sunning himself to death on Bondi Beach. Remember who is out with his begging bowl, cap in hand, complete with the Labrador with pathetic eyes, and that person certainly isn’t me. Those who are should quite frankly behave themselves.

            Limit your campaign to a partial indexation strictly for Canada, Australia and the Home Islands of New Zealand. Go down to any Tavern in any English neighbourhood in Barking, Dagenham, Bradford and the West Midlands on a Friday or a Saturday, and the sentiments and answers would all be similar or identical. They most certainly are not those of mine alone. No-one is going to agree that Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan immigrants should have the right to retire in the Lands where they originally came from on full British rates—the same reason as to why the Australians refuse to enter into social security agreements with any of those Countries and let the Australian Aged Pension be drawn from any of the aforementioned Countries. Australian hypocrisy and duplicity are things that the British public just equally would not stand, and cynical, self-serving and feeble attempts to close down this front of debate just would not wash, and would only be futile. As it is said in some parts of London, “Are you taking us like mugs?”

            EDMs are what bored backbenchers do to make a name for themselves. Most are potty proposals that would never see the light of day again as engrossed, scribed or printed words upon the pages of the Statute Book.

            “The situation regarding retired pensioners in Australia is entirely their own affair and is of no concern of the UK government; it does not constitute justification for the frozen pension policy”—the same can also be said by the same token about British-born pensioners who emigrated to Australia. If the British Government introduce this Australian rule of “strictly no payment without an agreement” for new pensioners (like what the British Colony of Gibraltar also does, and perfectly lawful within the Rules of the European Union; a pension from the Social Insurance scheme of Gibraltar cannot e.g. be drawn from Morocco), then it would be all over for your campaign.

            Charity begins at home—is that not enough of a justification?

            To sum up, finally, a campaign that does not concern themselves if their demands would cause the British State Pension system to collapse deserves all the contempt by the British public as it can possibly get; and a group that cries of unjustified discrimination despite being soundly defeated at every single round of the legal process cannot be described as anything but unreasonable fanatics.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            No facts – no justification – just a rant.
            But in case you are under the misapprehension that it constitutes a justification of the frozen pension policy….

            Limit the campaign to Australia, Canada and the Home Islands of New Zealand? No, that would simply be to condone the discrimination being levied to UK pensioners in some 120 other countries around the world.

            The EDM, however, illustrated that, bored or not, it had cross party support and thus torpedoed your LibDem jibe.

            If charity begins at home – and a pension someone has earned by contributions toward qualifying years cannot be called charity – your argument falls as the index linked payment is made to some 600,000 UK pensioners who do live abroad.

            The possibility of the UK introducing the Australian system is hypothesis – so does not warrant further comment as it is irrelevant.

            The campaign is just as concerned about the health of the National insurance Scheme as anyone else and has proved, beyond all doubt, that the NI Fund has sufficient in their resources for the government to meet its responsibilities and index link all pensions universally.

            You STILL have not given justification for the frozen pension policy and over the ten or so days this thread has been running you have been repeatedly asked to do so. It remains painfully obvious from your continued ramblings that you are unable to do so. That is understandable, of course, when there is no justification.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Almost no-one in England or Scotland who is English, Welsh or Scottish is going to agree that Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Sri Lankan immigrants should have the right to retire in the Lands where they originally came from on full British rates—the same reason as to why the Australians refuse to enter into social security agreements with any of the aforesaid Countries and let the Australian Aged Pension be payable in any of the aforementioned Countries.

            A few backbenchers from each of the three Lib-Lab-Con parties do not constitute cross-party support. Something that has cross-party support becomes law. Not even the three-line whip of the Government can possibly stop it from becoming law.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Paragraph One – no evidence to support your clam and not justification for the policy
            Paragraph 2. The NI Fund is there to meet claims that fall within its remit; not all are pensions. You made the same comment about preferential shares before. In the context of frozen pensions it is as invalid now as it was then; the frozen pensioner is a part of that group you refer to and is being discriminated against.
            Paragraph 3. Wrong the EDM was tabled by Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt and was signed by 102 members of not just the three main parties…cross party support… and as it did not get debated your definition of cross party support does not apply. Your personal views about those that sign EDM’s are not relevant.

            Still no justification. I don’t think George Smiley would be impressed by this showing.

          • Toby Esterházy

            A Conservative primary sponsor does not make it the official party policies of Lib-Lab-Con; and why did Ed Balls and Ed Miliband refuse to sign it?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            1. Never suggested that it did.
            2. Never asked them but probably from Personal choice – some MP’s do not sign them as a matter of principle.

            Still not justification.

          • Toby Esterházy

            The GBP £91,000,000,000 of borrowing, in the fiscal year of 2012 and 2013 alone. Clearly, pensioners abroad, like everyone else, are drawing more money out than what they had originally paid in—but according to you, it is alright, because it is only GBP £650,000,000! What is one “entitlement group”, when there are already so many! (http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/3/21/1332343666628/Budget-2012-tax-and-spend-001.jpg )

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            But pensioners abroad in frozen countries are not drawing on the same terms and conditions as those others; but they contributed on the same terms and conditions and that is the discrimination. If other “entitlement groups” are being discriminated against they, no doubt, will be making their own representations.

            Still no justification for the policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Your solution is still the Economics of the Madhouse, or the Lunatic Asylum, or simply of the Hospital of St. Mary of Bethlehem (Bethlem, Bedlam). You can blame your evil former Lib Dem supporters for raising the regular International Aid budget to 0.7% of the GDP for unavailable GBP £650,000,000. The Belgian-looking Nick Clegg (who has no full-blooded British ancestor for at least a Century) and his Spanish wife obviously wouldn’t really give a toss about the Frozen Pensioners.

            If you want your rights, you have to be prepared to fight for it—in THIS Country—NOT from afar. It wouldn’t wash to play “British to the core” one minute, then an oppressed ethnic minority group of sorts the next.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            I am not applying economics of any establishment at all – apart from the fact that there is sufficient surplus funding both currently and on Government Actuarial advice from future income within the NI Fund to meet the cost if uprating.

            As this discrimination has been perpetrated by successive governments over more than fifty years apportioning blame to any particular party is inappropriate; all share the responsibility.

            Geographical location is irrelevant and the fight is world wide.

            Still no justification …this is becoming so boring.

          • Toby Esterházy

            The British Government should be allowed to halve the mouth-watering GBP £1,000,000,000,000 worth of the British national debt before taking on a completely new line of expenditure (the projected amount is rocketing every single year with, with double-digit increases, and with no limit), set to literally cost over GBP £1,000,000,000 within this decade.

            The under-55s in the United Kingdom, men and women, now have to work or be registered as unemployed, with all the humiliations that entails and goes with it, until they are at the age of 68 years. Now, where is the justice in that? Where is the justice in having an expensive water company in London that is owned by fat-cat Australian merchant bankers?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Maybe but of course paying index linked pensions is an old line of expenditure, so not relevant.

            No government ever qualified what the retirement age should be. Historically it was, until recently, 65 for men and 60 for women. That the government has now decided the retirement age should be 68 may seem unjust (although with life expectancy increasing is actually quite understandable) but it affects everybody across the board without discriminating. It is therefore not comparable with the frozen pension policy.

            Your comment regarding a water company in London is irrelevant.

            And still no justification for the frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Because the money is never yours to start with. Now, tell me, if you under the Tropical Sun or under the Canadian snow are mad enough to believe that Indexation came from your own money, where in the World can you get inflation-busting returns on GBP £106,000,000,000 worth of National Insurance contributions (http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2012/3/21/1332343666628/Budget-2012-tax-and-spend-001.jpg )? Forget about the British Banks, what British building society would accept GBP £106,000,000,000 in a lump-sum as a time deposit? The Nationwide Building Society?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The NI contributions made earn qualifying years and in return these are converted to determine the level of the pension. It is, therefore, the repayment of the money contributed over the working life the level of which the government is required by law to review periodically in line with inflation.

            Your posting is not a justification for the frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            The classical definition of a Ponzi or a pyramid scheme.

            Discrimination based upon race (1976 c. 74), sex, marital status (1975 c. 65), gender, religion and sexual orientation (2010 c. 15) are general unlawful, outlawed by primary legislation, but there is never any known law law in England that outlaws discrimination based upon the address. No Court can create a new law prohibiting discrimination based upon the address, only Parliament can, through primary legislation in the form of an Act of Parliament. As it stands, discrimination based upon where you live is indeed lawful. It would open a whole can of worms for employers, schools and take-aways if discrimination based upon the address were made unlawful.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            But the frozen pension policy is discrimination between individuals who have met the same contribution conditions as everyone else but are not allowed to withdraw on the same conditions as everyone else; country of residence is irrelevant.

            Still not seen any justification for the policy….

          • Toby Esterházy

            The same as civil servants in London receiving a London Allowance, whereas other civil servants do not for doing the same work. Perfectly legal.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The London weighting allowance is just that – an allowance payable to meet the extra costs of working and traveling into the capital. It is not part of salary but an additional allowance. Civil Servants working in London are on the same pay scales as their counterparts in the provinces

            Still no justification for the frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            It all started when Canada and Australia—especially Australia—had this bright idea of tearing up the original social security agreements (and blame the British Government for it), whereby under the arrangement provided for in some sort of secret protocols to the old agreements, as Australia and Canada became richer and richer of Countries, the burden of funding would had slowly shifted away from London and more onto Ottawa and Canberra, close to a ratio of 50:50. Obviously, had Canberra and Ottawa stuck to their end of the original bargain, the British Government would then had more money left to consider universal indexation, at British rates or not.

            It is not up to me to justify the differences, but rather it is up to your group to justify to the British Public why you should still have a claim on THEIR money (the indexation bit) after becoming permanent residents or even naturalised as citizens in either Canada or Australia—never mind non-Commonwealth Countries such as Thailand. You get what you originally paid in, with an interest below the market rate set by the British National Savings and Investments Banks. The rest are all someone else’s money.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Your first paragraph is factually incorrect.

            It all started in 1929 when the first payment of a UK pension was made outside of the UK and in which uprating was incorporated. Several agreements were made post war which also included provision for uprating. In 1955 the payment of UK pensions world wide was introduced but did not include any uprating clause; that is when the discrimination between groups of pensioners who had contributed on equal terms but could not withdraw on equal terms and those that could began. It was exacerbated by the requirements of EU membership.

            On 1976 the UK and Canada drew up an agreement – it is still in force today. However at the time the UK government was not satisfied that the social security arrangements in Canada were sufficiently adequate to enable a reciprocal pension agreement. Canada rectified these perceived shortcomings and in 1979 sought to include pensions in the existing agreement. The UK government refused on the grounds of affordability despite, at 1979 rates, there being in excess of £3billion surplus in the NI Fund. The UK government at fault not the Canadian one.

            As regards Australia the UK government refused to include pension uprating in a reciprocal agreement and, as this was contrary to what was understood, withdrew from the agreement, as was their right. Once again it was the intransigence of the UK government that precipitated the collapse of the agreement.

            The veracity of the two preceding paragraphs can be obtained from the DWP.

            All of which is very interesting and informative but is of no consequence because in a Freedom of Information disclosure dated 7th March 2013 the DWP stated the following:

            “Bi-lateral agreements are not necessary in order for pensions paid outside Great Britain and the EU to be uprated”.

            If you take an opposing view and challenge the original statements, which are clearly set out in the original article and fully explained in the course of this thread, it is most definitely up to you to justify the differences in treatment. Our case is made but, as yet yours is not.

            Our campaign is already proving that the policy is discriminatory and it is in our interests to convince the British Public of the validity and justice of our case;to achieve parity with those pensioners living in the UK and those already living abroad who are not only entitled but actually are index linked.

            The idea that one gets back what one originally pays in is complete rubbish. If it were true all pensioners would be frozen as none would, by your definition, be entitled to index linking wherever they lived. Either everyone’s contributions qualify for index linking or nobody’s do – there are no different rates.

            It is common knowledge that contributions are on a ‘pay as you go basis” but, once contributed, it is not ‘their’ money but the ring fenced NI Fund’s for payment to pensioners (among others) who have earned it by virtue of the qualifying years they have accrued. Index linking is not an allowance in addition to the basic pension but a resetting annually of the basic rate.

            So after nearly two weeks Toby you still have not come up with any justification for the frozen pension. But, as I have said before, there is no justification for the policy.
            It is, of course, open to the foolish to try and do so.

          • Toby Esterházy

            “The idea that one gets back what one originally pays in is complete rubbish”—your lot really are a lost and hopeless psychiatric case, are you not? “The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of the other people’s money to spend.”—Mrs. Margaret Hilda Thatcher.

            The three National Insurance Funds have no direct bearing on either National Insurance contributions or Pensions. They are the reserve funds deducted from gross National Insurance Contributions received. In the United Kingdom (Great Britain), the reserve deduction from employees’ contributions was 8.95% back in the year 2002 (https://www.gad.gov.uk/Documents/Social%20Security/Review_of_the_Public_Reports_by_Government_Actuary_on_National_Insurance_Fund.pdf , p. 14; signed off by the Office of the Chief Actuary of Canada no less; see also https://encrypted.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=++%228.95%22+%22national+insurance+fund%22+&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&ved=0CDEQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.official-documents.gov.uk%2Fdocument%2Fother%2F9780108509063%2F9780108509063.pdf&ei=FlNBUpeNIMWThQf0kIDABw&usg=AFQjCNFS_9kCoaADchimY-rHSx7uk75r0A&sig2=i2vpDRewaqNOUATba3PBLA ; https://encrypted.google.com/url?q=https://www.gad.gov.uk/Documents/Social%2520Security/Quinquennial_Review_05-Full_Report.pdf&ei=dlNBUsy4G8ijhgekmIDoBg&sa=X&oi=unauthorizedredirect&ct=targetlink&ust=1380014718452288&usg=AFQjCNHa4813YJYv4RNIwsoyCL5JUv5rPQ ).

            The apologia for the behaviour of Ottawa and Canberra are exactly the sort of lies and propaganda that Canada and Australia have been feeding to the Poms in Australia and the British New Canadians, especially by one Mrs. Amanda Vanstone. It was an attempted shakedown by Australian and Canadian civil servants using some of the more disreputable American business negotiation methods they had learnt in business schools in the United States.

            Even the Social Security system of the United States of America impose restrictions on payments to North Korea (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), Cuba, Azerbaijan, the Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan (Kyrgyzia, Kyrgyz Republic), Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Vietnam, regardless of nationality, Countries no doubt without a social security agreement with the United States of America.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Unless you are a qualified and practicing psychiatrist and have medical evidence to back such comments please do not insult with such abusive comments.

            Regarding Mrs Thatcher she was, of course, quite correct but this is not a case of socialism but of fairness, justice and equality under an existing system in relation to what has been earned; not other people’s money.
            After about 1% of the contributions made under the NI scheme are set aside towards partly supporting the NHS the remainder becomes the NI Fund. This Fund is to pay for, among other things, but principally the State Retirement Pension. It is from this fund that index linked pensions are paid and it is only after that that any surplus is deposited with the DMO for them to make available to be borrowed by the government. The case, of course, is that the index linking of the frozen pension is made before the surplus is declared; thus it should never become part of the reserve.

            Even conceding your statement – which I most certainly do not – as some pensioners abroad already receive index linking the facility for “raiding the capital reserves” is already in place and being actioned.

            Either way it is not a justification for the frozen pension policy and, if it was, do you not think that the Minister of Pensions would not have produced it from his hat long ago?…cloud cuckoo land seems familiar with your argument here.

            I will not bother with your waffle on the position of Canada and Australia. I said before that the truth was available from the DWP and if your not prepared to accept my word – ask them. Again, of course, what you say does not constitute a case to justify pension freezing by the UK government.

            Your final paragraph has no relevance or bearing n the issue. What other countries social security arrangements is as I have said before their own concern.

            Yet again another posting from you Toby but in relation to the frozen pensions discrimination it is, as I think Shakespeare once wrote “…full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

          • Toby Esterházy

            I apologise, for once. Barking? Absolutely. Psychiatric, well? I defer this to higher authorities, nay the Man above.

            You have to ask yourself, why did Mrs. Thatcher absolutely refused to enter into revised agreements in Canada’s and Australia’s favour, bearing in mind that she was no friend of Europe and no enemy of South Africa and the Old White Dominions? Because she, rightly, saw that this was a form of compulsory, involuntary and socialist transfer of public wealth from England to Canada and Australia at best (much like what is happening between Germanic and Germanised Northern Europe and the Latin, Latinised and Slavic Southern and Central Europe), and robbing the Peters of England and Scotland to pay the Pauls of Ontario, British Columbia and Australia at worst. It is no different from married children with their own fully-paid-up home but who are still claiming an allowance from Mum and Dad, or a childless divorcée who is still claiming an alimony from her former husband after her remarriage, or a widow (or a deserted wife; I apologise if this sounds terribly Catholic and Irish) who is still claiming a payment as a widow (or as a deserted wife) after her remarriage.

            The two words “Barnett Formula” evoke strong feelings in England. “Little Englanders” are fed up with Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and even the Isle of Man, and especially their urban centres, being subsidised by England, to the detriment of many Northern, Western and South-Western parts of England and also many parts of London, and probably see the Frozen Pensioners as an extension of the Barnett Formula into Canada and Australia.

            What I would say is, do not expect something from the United Kingdom what neither the United States of America, Australia nor New Zealand would do.

            If the United Kingdom Independence Party officially supports your campaign and would include your demand into their official party manifesto, then I am happy to reconsider my position.

            I have a slight business, academic as well as legal background, although if I were good at either of those, my mind would had been engaged elsewhere. This is a poor man’s substitute of the Oxford Union. Anyhow, you do not negotiate with the British Government with demands that the other side considers outrageous. This is what “Johnny foreigners” do, and the British Government would just clamp up. Start with the Centenarians and the over-Eighties first. The rest would just have to wait. Retirement pensions are becoming more and more unaffordable, hence the reason why Canberra, Wellington and Ottawa are so eager to import more moneyed Chinese immigrants as well as Indian, Chinese and Vietnamese slave labour. The Kaiser was right about the Chinese. They are no less of a threat to Christendom and Western civilisation than the Turks, Persians and Arabs.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            You apologise but then continues to insult in the same vein. Still, given your history of insulting other posters who disagree with you – and I haven’t seen one yet that actually agrees with with you – perhaps this is the limit of your intelligence and the best one could expect.

            As regards the NI Fund check the following link

            followed by


            and then clicks on the updated accounts for the NI Account and discover that on 31st August 2013 the surplus in the account stood at £27.2 billion.

            This discrimination existed pre and post Margaret Thatcher’s premiership and the rejection of the Canadian application by the UK was prior to her election success in 1979 and the scrapping by Australia was years after her resignation. She had no involvement.

            Your views on the Barnett Formula are simply personal.

            Your views on what the USA, Australia or New Zealand might do or might not do are personal.

            The campaign is a-political. All political parties that may be in a position to formulate a policy including universal up rating are aware and UKIP is no exception.

            Your views on France and Holland are irrelevant.

            Your views on how to negotiate are personal and of no importance on this issue.

            The opinions of the last German Kaiser have no relevance.

            There is nothing in this posting that in anyway justifies the frozen pension policy.

            Initially i credited you with being someone who was ignorant of the background and had formed an opinion that did not stand up to scrutiny. I sought to correct that.

            Then it became clear that your intention in posting were simply confrontation and it was fun to play you along.

            Now your meanderings have wanders so far off the track and you offer such pathetic rubbish it is simply just boring.

          • Toby Esterházy

            On the contrary, you argument is basically this party-line of “how about is this GBP £28,000,000,000”, even though you know full well that the fund would have been depleted within 19 years even under the most optimistic of calculations.

            No sympathy. You are obviously not an old widow in your 80s. You knew full well what you were getting yourself into when you emigrated to Thailand with your Thai wife.

            Anyway, “I speak on behalf of common sense. People don’t come to local news websites to read the irrelevant political ravings of pensioners “thousands of miles way”. Simple. Your inability to grasp that speaks volumes about the ineffective spamming tactics your group are attempting. Anyway, I’ve unticked the “email me when a comment is added” box this time so I won’t be returning to this thread again. Neither will anyone else. I’d suggest that arguing with yourself in a mirror might bring similar results to your cause as this thread has. …actually, if you do that you might finally find yourself having a conversation with somebody who agrees with you!” (Pensioners fear they have lost hundreds in insurance scam (Amanda Williams, News, Oxford Mail, 2:00pm Monday 2nd July 2012); 4:39pm Wed 11 Jul 12; https://encrypted.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=%22andrew+robertson-fox%22&source=web&cd=10&cad=rja&ved=0CGIQFjAJ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.oxfordmail.co.uk%2Fnews%2F9792149.Pensioners_fear_they_have_lost_hundreds_in_insurance_scam%2F&ei=QmhCUrL9IYOshQfe0YHACA&usg=AFQjCNHBOb5cf3-EIGt93utVRhdFqvswHA&sig2=8XQA24sidu77N3BXvkqklg ) Does that remind you of someone, and something? That person was most certainly and definitely not thee.

            “Fairness, justice and equality. Sounds good, you can enjoy that too when you return to the UK, rejoin the democratic process and vote for a government that will send more money out of the UK to foreign pensioners. At least, whilst in Canada you can enjoy buying fuel at CAD1.30 per litre. When you return you can brace yourself for paying circa CAD1.95 per litre.”

            On reflection, is your Thai wife even real, I wonder?

            “Those of us who are still working our socks off in the UK are struggling to buy food and fuel. Homes are being repossessed, jobs being lost. No-one cares about anything except where their next meal and tank of petrol is coming from. They certainly don’t care about you.”

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            You have said that you have unsubscribed so,Toby, you will not see this but just in case others visit this site allow me to set the record straight.

            Paragraph 1. You are wrong – the current surplus in the NI Fund is forecast to increase not decrease; the interest alone on the borrowings from it is sufficient to pay uprating unilaterally, twice over.

            Paragraph 2. Sympathy is not being sought. The campaign is to bring to an end the frozen pension policy.

            No, despite being in correspondence with the appropriate departments for fifteen years before retirement and both prior and post emigrating on the implications of so doing the first indication was with notification of my first payment going to my account. Experience has shown that this lack of information from the DWP is not uncommon.

            Paragraph 3. Who speaks on behalf of the common man? Judging by the lack of supporting posts on this thread and any other evidence certainly not Toby Easterhazy
            We have no qualms about using the available media to highlight and bring to the enquiring public the discrimination being levied upon vulnerable members of the same UK pensioner population.

            Paragraph 4. Whether I have or have not any plans for returning to the UK is not your concern and has no bearing on the issue.

            I have never been to Canada so the cost of fuel there is of no interest to me. Funny how you in this paragraph you think I’m in Canada and in paragraph 2 you say Thailand. In line with your totally confused thinking, though

            Paragraph 5. Not only abusive to me but snidely and objectionably insulting to my wife of over twenty years.

            Paragraph 6. Read this somewhere before. Could be a cut and paste job from a stupid posting by an equally stupid Karla’s Man. I take it from the various times that you post comments you are not actually among those working

            their socks off. I have sympathy for those who are suffering under the austerity. I remember what it was like post war. I do question whether this is not just an excuse as being able to afford a car, with borrowing rates at an all time low, housing repossessions declining and unemployment falling, perhaps people tend to exaggerate the difficulties they are undeniably facing.

            Paragraph 7. The sum total of your case in favour of the frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            I might be prone to verbosity, but your points have already long been comprehensively, devastatingly and masterfully demolished by numerous more concise commentators on previous articles on the Guardian, especially on this article (http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2013/mar/20/flat-rate-pension-change-cash-grab ).

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Toby that really is deceitful to say you have unsubscribed and then creep back…still I suppose I should not have expected anything better from a troll.
            The article in the Guardian relates to State Pensions after 2016 but does not address the discrimination which is the current and, if Clause 20 of the Pension Reform Bill is enacted, future argument. It has no relevance to the main issue in this thread.
            If you care to give the link to the article that comprehensively, devastatingly and masterfully demolishes case against the discrimination created by the frozen pension policy then, perhaps, you can not only post them here – and why have you not done so in the past couple of weeks anyway? – but also forward them to the DWP Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith and the Pensions Minister, Steve Webb. They are unable to justify it as I’m sure you noticed in the Pension Bill Scrutiny Committee deliberations. I am sure they would welcome your assistance but such articles do not exist and so you cannot..

          • Toby Esterházy

            The E-mail messages were automatically generated by the Disqus system.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Let me quote you – “….any way I have unticked ” email me when a comment is added” box this time so I won’t be returning to this thread again…” yet you commented again. How can the disqus system generate emails to comments unless you have returned to the thread? If you can’t be trusted to truthful on such a simple matter why should one even contemplate your opinions on more weighty issues?

          • Toby Esterházy

            Those were never my words, by my reproduction of the words of one disgruntled and outraged “Captain J”, when you and your group for a multitude of political reasons hijacked an article entitled “Pensioners fear they have lost hundreds in insurance scam”, by Amanda Williams, at 2:00pm, on Monday 2nd July 2012, in his local newspaper, being the Oxford Mail, back in the year 2012 and post an off-topic issue, an act on the Internet that is usually considered Spamming.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Then you should have had the courtesy to one “Captain J” at least to acknowledge the source of your quotation and that it was not an original thought of your own and the implications did not apply to you.

            If the item in the 0xford Mail was then a case of hijacking then it was by the accusatory Captain J and one Andrew Oxford who wasted many column inches with their claim – and from which they subsequently withdrew tails between their legs.

            No the article related to the issue of pensions scams – of which the frozen pension is by far the greatest. It was an opportune moment to warn the good people of Oxford of this hidden danger in emigrating and make them aware of the discrimination.

            So it was not trolling or spamming.

          • Toby Esterházy

            You and your group were cynically hijacking a local newspaper’s site in the mistaken belief that David Cameron would personally read them. Unfortunately, he is the leader of the Conservative and Unionist Party, not that of the United British Empire Loyalists.

            I had no need to specially attribute those individual comments. My use of punctuation left little room for doubt that those were nothing but reproduction of words from third persons. You are just an incorrigible autistic, illiterate half-wit and dyslexic suffering from Freudian retention, who like to shout but unable to take it yourself when your interlocutor responds in kind.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            My, my, the toys are have certainly been thrown out of his pram by Toby this time and including a Thesaurus to boot.

            I have no idea what papers the Prime Minister may read but I make no bones about contribution to an item on pensions in one that covers an area with which I have connections or, indeed, in one that covers an area with which I don’t. It was, of course, Captain J and his pal Andrew:Oxford who did the hijacking with their unfounded allegations on the postings made by myself and others.

            I have noticed over a lifetime that when people shout, be it in conversation or in the written word, it is because they have simply lost the argument; as you so clearly have.

            I have taken all your shouting, innumerable insults and abusive remarks so easily because, quite frankly the lack of substance and the irrelevant content in your postings has made it so easy to demolish you ramblings. It has been child’s play to just run rings round you, especially when you fail to recognise it!.

            You have not, in all this time produced any which remotely resembles justification for this discrimination.

            I will disregard the libelous remarks in your final paragraph – they are beneath contempt.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Fair comment is never libellous.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Fair comment is only available, as a defence, if the defendant, which would be you, can show the defamatory statement was an honestly held opinion and based upon facts which were true.

            While you may think your opinion is honest you have no facts to support your claim that I am autistic, an illiterate half wit, dyslexic or have Freudian retention.

            I look forward to seeing your retraction and apology in this thread in due course.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Under Thai law or under English law?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            English Law.

          • Toby Esterházy

            We shall see about that. If you were to launch a suit against me, you would of course have to reveal more of your identity other than just your name, and I doubt that it would be something that you particularly desire. Libel is not a crime in England, and the wronged party is not afforded anonymity. Actionable libel is no libel when action is inadvisable.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            I only stated that I considered your comments to be libelous,

            You questioned whether under English law or Thai Law; I replied English (although Thai law is probably more stringent).

            I made no suggestion of taking such action simply pointed out that I considered your comments to be so and that a retraction, given your lack of evidence, would be in order. No doubt other posters on this thread will make their own judgement.

            Nothing in my identity that is in any way secretive…not sure about you often see elements which remind me of Walter Mitty.

            I have better things to do than waste my time on you or such trivialities when there are more important battles to be won.

          • George Morley

            Whilst you are just a disgrace I suppose. Your inane comments are typical of a loser.

          • Toby Esterházy


          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Sorry Guest – oops I mean Toby – your message simply saying “Hello” was received but I am not at your or anybody’s beck and call to answer stupid postings.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Disqus error. My account was suspended for several hours. A debating adversary of mine was playing silly games with me, wrongly thinking that comments on the Spectator’s site are easily removed.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Playing silly games – like you have throughout this thread.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Snidey slipping in an edit at the end.

            Answer to the last sentence is easy – when they are the UK government dealing with frozen pensioners.

          • Brian Peters

            I think you’ve lost the plot Esterhazy ‘nom de plume’. Firstly I’m not Irish, I was born in England and I don’t hide behind a false name.
            Secondly you live in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – so stop bagging the Irish.
            You’re incredibly racist. I really feel sorry for anybody associated with you.
            The pure rantings of a racist bigot.

            Strewth, you really are an uneducated idiot.

          • Toby Esterházy

            I do not hate the Irish. Just a bit of banter. I definitely have the odd friend with Irish surnames.

          • Brian Peters

            Racist banter at that – and anybody friends with you must be odd to put up with your rantings.

            Rightio, I’m off for me Fosters down at pub…..

          • Toby Esterházy

            Bernard Manning, Frank Carson …

          • Brian Peters

            You’re just like a bad smell…you keep coming back.

            You quickly switch from British to English foreign ‘nom de plume’. You even go from anti Irish, anti ‘foreigner’ but, in all of that, you continually prove incapable of defending why somebody in Australia, NZ or Canada shouldn’t get an indexed pension.

            If you were able to do that why aren’t you proposing people in the USA, Europe, Jamaica etc shouldn’t get indexed pensions?

            And that is the issue as to why the current policy is discriminatory.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Any indexation should be jointly funded between the Governments on a 50:50 basis (unless one of the Countries is obviously poorer, as in the case of New Zealand)—that is what a social security agreement is there for.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Brian, you are, of course, right in that the issue is the discrimination in the UK pension policy.

            I note that Esterhazy has replied to you – although giving no justification for that policy – and suggesting that indexation should be jointly funded between governments on a strict 50:50 basis…..as he says “that is what a social security agreement is there for”.

            I thought you might be interested in the contents of a letter dated 3rd September 2007 from the Residency Section of HM Revenue and Customs in Newcastle. It states:-

            ” Although most provide for payment of upratings, that is not the primary purpose of reciprocal social security agreements. They are intended as a measure of co-ordination between social security schemes for people moving between the UK and the other countries during their working lives”

            I draw your attention in particular to the last four words and would suggest that anyone who has retired has, by definition, ceased their working life. Invoking reciprocal agreements, which the DWP have acknowledged in a Freedom of Information disclosure are unnecessary for the unilateral uprating anyway, it is merely a peg on which to hang an ill fitting hat. Clearly, I would suggest, uprating is not an integral part of social security agreements.

            I am sure you are aware, Brian, that Australia withdrew, as either party had a right to do, from an agreement with the UK government because the latter refused to honour an understanding that the uprating of UK pensions by the UK would be incorporated. Subsequently the UK refused, as they still do, to negotiate.

            Don’t you agree, Brian, that his views on the future of UKIP and the EU are his own idle hypothetical speculation and not relevant to the current situation frozen pension discrimination?

          • Brian Peters

            I absolutely do Andy. The other thing is we actually never had a choice to pay NI. Nor have we ever been given he opportunity for a refund.
            The message was “trust us, we’ll pay you a pension when you retire. We’ll look after your money and assume the liability to pay you when you retire”.
            It’s an absolute and utter disgrace.
            And then we have nutters like Esterhazy with their nasty vitriol and a recidivist approach to rewriting history because they’re too silly to accept a rationale discussion.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Too true Brian.
            I think the fact that Easterhazy has made so many errors in his postings, which tend to be very much off topic anyway, speaks volumes about his knowledge, or rather lack of it, when he pontificates.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Both your personal and group mottos are no doubt “No-one likes us! No-one likes us! We don’t care!” It is NEVER up to the Her Majesty’s Government (us, our Government) to justify any perceived discrimination, but why your group should have a claim to a GBP £650,000,000 pay rise and a further 8% rise per annum minimum thereafter.

          • Brian Peters

            Poor Esterhazy – he’s completely lost the plot.
            It’s hardly an ‘increase’ when we’ve contributed just like twits like you. I’m just after what I was promised and what I’ve paid for.
            And you haven’t been able to explain why somebody in a similar position as me, living in the US, would be treated more beneficially.
            Or even you Esterhazy, if you managed to extricate yourself from your fascist landlady’s apron strings and moved to Spain and get your ongoing indexed pension.
            Mind you, that won’t happen…the Spanish have got standards and wouldn’t let a foreigner living in the UK into their country.
            Come on Esterhazy, own up, you’re a real foreigner aren’t you? Don’t be ashamed about your ethnic background, we understand why you need to hide your identity.
            Silly, silly person.

          • George Morley

            Actually Brian I don’t think he lost the plot because he had no clue about it in the first place. I mean, he has said ” claim to a GBP £650,000,000 pay rise and a further 8% rise per annum minimum thereafter” which is totally false as nobody is asking for a pay rise and where did he dream up 8% ?

            When people resort to making unsubstantiated statements and cannot justify them then they are obviously not in touch with the real position and just keep shooting themselves in the foot which is why they are eventually unable to stand up !

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            A few points if I may –

            Firstly members of Her Majesty’s government have already acknowledged that this is discrimination and there is no perception about it.
            Secondly it is not a claim for a pay rise but a claim for parity.
            Thirdly, the index linking is governed by the triple lock and is currently between 2% to 3%. The figure of 8% is pie in Toby’s sky.
            As is the rest of his posting.

          • George Morley

            Why did the government reduce the number of years for a full pension from 44 to 30 then up to 35 then ?

            You seem to have a lot of time to devote to bringing up subjects that have no bearing on the issue being discussed – like the rant over Nick Clegg, saying that Almost no-one in England or Scotland who is English, Welsh or Scottish is going to agree that .. blah, blah, blah, which is just your opinion and not fact. You obviously like the sound of your own voice and see your stupid arguments in print but you do not convince anyone with any commonsense.

          • Brian Peters

            I’m just wondering if this fictional character that keeps writing this drivel is actually in the real world?
            Let’s just assume it’s morally right to not index pensions for the 500,000+ eligible people in Australia, NZ and Canada…
            Then please explain why it is correct to index in Europe, the US, Jamaica etc?
            A clear case of discrimination.
            I mean, we wouldn’t want the UK to run out of loo rolls given the crap coming out of the fictional Toby’s mouth.
            Mind you I’d be happy to contribute a loo roll and have it stuffed in his mouth….
            The guy is still an ignorant bigot.

          • Toby Esterházy

            And you, Sir, are still a day-dreaming Pom in Australia with a little too much exposure to the Sun, and who would be given a very good hiding if you tried some of your usual sob stories normally told to Australians in a Pub anywhere in England. Apart from your own relatives, just how many Englishmen and Englishwomen did you manage to get signatures from to support you?

          • Brian Corrigan

            Toby you really are becoming a bore. Give us all a break will you and try and put your brain in gear before you comment?

          • Toby Esterházy

            It wouldn’t be a very good sell, even in the most Irish, Jewish or Chinese parts of your own parts of Lancashire, once you have mentioned the figure. GBP £650,000,000 every single year and rising. How are you supposed to explain away that?

          • Brian Corrigan

            Toby have a rest,will you? Your postings are nothing but distractions from the article which explains with great eloquence the British Governments treatment of its expat pensioners living in countries where their pensions are frozen.

          • Toby Esterházy

            In a whiny left-wing perspective, and completely out of kilter with the rest of this Magazine, which is supposed to be of the Centre-Right, with an emphasis on personal, individual responsibility. Meanwhile, you are probably still reliving in one of the many episodes of Bread.

          • Steve

            I have never in my entire life commented on any blog etc
            etc online, but reading this, I feel compelled to “add my tuppence” so I am for the first time ever commenting,

            I spent 30 years as a public servant, serving queen and country , I do now live in Canada as my wife is Canadian so I moved here.
            I am more fortunate than most, as I am not reliant on getting a Uk old age pension to survive,

            but my heart goes out to those that HAVE to rely completely on a Uk old age pension and this is the reason I have taken the time to write this….

            Even mentioning side issues is fudging this main issue.
            Why is a relatively small group of people that has their entire life (non-voluntarily) contributed to the system being told they cant have the same benefits as other groups that can…….
            As has been commented before, if color or gender were a issue here, the uk government would have leapt into the fray.
            This actually makes this discrimination WORSE as the Uk government feels it is able to ignore it as it isn’t a “popular” issue .
            As I said, I spent almost my entire life serving the country and I am patriotic about the Uk, but the behaviour of this and successive governments on this issue is nothing short of disgraceful…

            I am a optimist, so am hoping (it may be a vain hope) that eventually this issue reached the point where someone with moral fortitude (and high level) actually realises that the people involved here have a right to indexing, it isnt a “extra” , it isnt giving them something they shouldnt have , it is supporting people who (in the main ) have devoted their entire lives to supporting the uk social system, only to be told they cannot have the same as the majority due to their location and nothing else……….



          • Toby Esterházy

            You can cry discrimination to your heart’s content, meanwhile, the Social Security programme over in the United States is getting closer and closer to bankruptcy from a ballooning of recipients and entitlements—it even has a projected date of its demise, being the year 2042, and it looks like the Canadian Pension Plan, the New Zealand Superannuation programme and the British National Insurance systems are closely following suit. Only Marxist, Trotskyite and anarchist plonkers would think that they are not. This is the Spectator, not the New Statesman. All these childish and Communist cries of discrimination just would not wash at all, for the World is never, ever fair.

            The author of this piece used to work for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and formerly the BBC, both in the public sector with guaranteed funding, impossible salaries, all kinds of special benefits and preferential policies for women, ethnic minorities and even immigrants, so this day-dreaming Leftie in his Ivory Tower never actually live in the Real World.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Quick tip; never disclose personal information on line (or indeed anywhere). Identity thieves operate in this area.

          • George Morley

            You use a nom de plume to hide because you are ashamed to give your true name I guess. My name is my name and I am proud to use it – pity you feel the need to hide behind that stupid name so that you can abuse others and spread misinformation. Have you no morals at all ? Don’t bother answering that as it is painfully clear already.

          • Toby Esterházy

            My anonymity was partly because my still-living father had done some work involving the Official Secrets Act and the Official Secrets Ordinance of a certain British colony. I of course live in the United Kingdom, but if my or his identity were ever revealed, he would be lucky to simply get shot.

            I would had been deeply embarrassed if I were to talk nonsense under my own real and lawful name! You cannot talk your way to GBP £650,000,000! The real World does not work like that! I say, I mean, what is the point of getting unfrozen, only for it to become so unaffordable that it has to close to new pensioners after 15 years’ times, like those final-salary defined-benefit pension schemes that are closed to new members?

            Ultimately, the whole frozen pensions business is just a Canadian sideshow, part of the lie that the Government of Canada sells to gullible Canadians that the Canadian Pension Plan, the Canadian Social Insurance system and other Provincial Retirement schemes were somehow affordable and would never go bankrupt (and, by believing in their own lies, that somehow this also extends to the British State Retirement Pension system within the British National Insurance scheme), when in fact they are anything but, even with all the revenue from the Canadian mineral bloom, and they are closely following the projected fate of the Social Security system of the United States of America. Why else would the Canadians keep on taking in Chinese and Indian immigrants? To recruit more new members to keep the Canadian Ponzi schemes going!

          • Brian Peters

            Sounds like poppycock to me Esterhazy.
            So your father lives overseas? Does he get a British pension?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            He says he would be deeply embarrassed if he was to talk nonsense under his own real and lawful name….

            Guess this means he is not deeply embarrassed to talk nonsense under his beloved nom de plume….

            No further comment necessary!

    • PossieJim

      Toby, Stick to the issue. What the UK Government has done to some of its expats this past 60 years is as Jonathan Holmes writes a blatant discrimination. The British Government is morally bankrupt in its policy re pensions for expats and we are working towards having the Commonwealth Heads of Government to be asked to consider Britain’s suitability for membership of this “club”. They should either “ship up or shop out”.

      Moreover Andy Robertson-Fox knows more about this issue than you will ever know and he does not live in a Commonwealth country but is ferociously supportive of this campaign for social justice as I am.

      As Dame Joan Bakewell opined when we went down in the ECHR, “This is a matter of social justice. People paying insurance contributions in good faith expect the same pensions as their contemporaries wherever they choose to spend their retirement. Geography should have nothing to do with it.”

      Finally there is a credit balance of almost £30 billion in the NI account from which our pensions are paid. That £30 Billion is more than double what the Government actuary says is required to manage the account in the foreseeable future. This is money loaned to the Government at interest and is repayable.

      • Davo

        Just a much simpler question really. If I begin to draw my UK NI-based pension whilst living in Australia and am therefore denied CPI increases, what is the situation should I return permanently to UK? Does my pension suddenly “leap” by all the missed increases or am I continually at a pecuniary disadvantage vis-a-vis less well travelled citizens?

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          Hello Davo – gosh I thought this thread had “died” months ago!
          To answer your questıon if your pension is frozen but you then return to the UK it is uprated to the present day value…but no backdated arrears. While uprating is payable on application even for a short term holiday or visit (supportıng evidence may be asked for) it is lıkely that the DWP will requıre you to support your claim to residential permancy in some way – for example house purchase.

        • PossieJim

          Davo, when you return to the UK your pension will be indexed from the week of your arrival even if for just a holiday, so long a they are advised of your arrival. If you make this arrangement no more than 4 weeks before your intended arrival, this adjustment will happen. However if you are back in the UK permanently and can prove that to them, then past increases lost are not re-paid you. Should you then return to Australia or Canada etc. the pension will revert to what it was when you were previously paid in that frozen country, but depending on how long you have been away.
          Why not join BPiA or CABP to help have this immoral discriminatory British legislation overturned, so that all UK pensioners are indexed universally? if you are in Australia call me on 1300 308 353 or email me jimtilley@bigpond.com or visit our web bpia.org.au

  • Dougie

    Nobody has been forced to go and live in Australia. If you plan to emigrate to work or retire abroad, you need to do all the sums to ascertain what your financial situation will be. It’s no good complaining after the event.

    Secondly, it’s a popular misconception that NI contributions are earmarked for pensions. As Nye Bevan famously said, “The great secret about the National Insurance fund is that there ain’t no fund”. Any index-linking would come directly from the taxes being paid by current UK taxpayers.

    Thirdly, the rate of inflation in the UK is of no relevance to residents of Australia so why should some of their income be linked to it? If the UK had just experienced two decades of deflation, as Japan has, would Australian pensioners be happy to have their pensions reduced? I think not.

    So, having emigrated in full knowledge of the rules, stop whinging like a Pom and embrace the positive outlook of your new homeland.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      May I intervene here as you seem to be way off target Dougie.

      Firstly, you are right that nobody has been forced to go and live in Australia or, indeed, any other country and hopefully they were able (although the evidence is clear that many were not) to ascertain their financial (frozen) situation.

      But that is not the point, is it? We are not just talking about Australia but pensioners in some 120 plus countries around the world.

      The simple fact is that these pensioners contributed to the NI Scheme on the same terms and conditions as everyone else when in employment but are denied the right to withdraw from the NI Fund on the same terms and conditions as everyone else in retirement. The country of residence is clearly irrelevant as uprating is automatic in some overseas countries anyway.

      Secondly, I do not think that anyone who is familiar with this campaign for fairness, justice and equality for all British pensioners is under any misconceptions about the NI Fund. Bevan was only partly right in his outburst. While the NI scheme is unlike a private scheme in that contributions are not invested into financial institutions to attract interest and produce a sum at the end of the prescribed period the contributions made under the NI scheme do earn qualifying years which are “converted’ into the retirement pension at the appropriate time. Bevan was also inaccurate because there is actually an NI Fund and it has been in surplus for many years and currently stands at about £27 billion.

      Thirdly, in the ECHR case Carson and others v. the UK government it was acknowledged on both sides that the current process of uprating within those foreign countries where uprating was already operational whereby the UK cost of living (at that time but but now triple lock) was implemented was the only realistic and feasible way; the use local cost of living rates would be unworkable.

      This is not whinging poms – it is half a million people world wide campaigning for for the end of this vile discrimination.

  • Shetel

    Jonathan Holmes clearly articulates how the current situation has arisen out of history not rationality. It is nothing short of theft to deprive those who have paid into the National Insurance scheme on the understanding that this would provide them with some State pension. As it stands, it is the most elderly and most vulnerable who suffer the most.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    You know, if a British MP was shot, would the police start looking for someone with a grudge? Kinda pointless as literally thousands would be in the frame.

    • Toby Esterházy

      You are a Japanese. You were born in Japan, and you live in Japan. Your only claim to ties to the United Kingdom was that you went to a boarding school or boarding schools in Oxfordshire as a foreigner. You would only receive an occupational pension currently administered by a company on the Isle of Man for your part-time work, so I don’t see how the pension indexation business is possibly any of your business.

      Why are you even here, if you are neither a British subject, nor eligible to a British State Retirement Pension?

      There is no good in denying it by claiming that you were somehow a self-employed “guardian for Japanese” [sic] in Oxford and Oxfordshire in the 1990s—which is never considered pensionable work.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Let`s see:
        You are a Japanese. WRONG
        You were born in Japan. WRONG
        You live in Japan. RIGHT
        Your only claim to ties to the United Kingdom was that you went to a boarding school or boarding schools in Oxfordshire as a foreigner. WRONG
        You would only receive an occupational pension currently administered by a company on the Isle of Man for your part-time work. WRONG
        You are neither a British subject, nor eligible to a British State Retirement Pension. WRONG and WRONG
        There is no good in denying it by claiming that you were somehow a self-employed “guardian for Japanese” in Oxford and Oxfordshire in the 1990. WRONG and WRONG

        Not a bad batting average for you, Toby.
        Produce your evidence or shut up. Preferably the latter.

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          Toby and Jack – you seem to have gone rather off the topic and in the process are, in my opinion, between you ruining what was a very good thread on a well researched and important (to some at least) issue. Shame on you both.

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Is there a psychiatrist in the house? I make a relevant, insightful comment. Toby responds with an illogical, off-topic, pointless contradiction and/or a gainsay denial based on literally nothing, and he has the effrontery to call me a troll. As example, at least 100 times he’s told me I’m not British but Japanese. Almost certainly he simply
            can’t handle a Brit making negative comments about Britain, so this is his way of reconciling the seeming contradiction. An up-north know-it-all ignoramus from a multicultural hellhole with a massive chip on his shoulder.
            Any halfway decent publication with even a vestige of moral integrity would have banned this xenophobic racist bigot long ago, but sadly the Spectator simply keeps the loony around for laughs. Which, by exposing him to hectoring, ridicule and abuse, amounts to a form of mocking the afflicted, and quite possibly exacerbates his
            mental health problems.
            If I had a bit more support in cornering and exposing this disgusting cyber stalker and his illogical, libelous lies, we might have driven him out. But sadly gutless Brits simply sit on their hands and whistle “Dixie”.
            Jack, Japan Alps

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Why don’t you try ignoring him?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Think positive, Andy. What about all those “second bite of the cherry” opportunities this has provided?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            The argument against freezing; the fact that no sustainable case for the discrimination has been presented either outside of or within this thread and the body of evidence against it in the majority of comments herein should be sufficient not to warrant a plethora of “second bite of the cherry” opportunities.
            One can accept that there will be some who are unaware of the issue and reasoned simple explanations are sometimes required to inform and educate.

            However, that one poster has sought unsuccessfully to derail the topic by launching off on numerous, various and easily discredited tangents but failing, despite being invited more than once, to put forward a case justifying the frozen pensions speaks more about the poster than those he or she seeks to belittle.

        • Toby Esterházy

          Do you actually know what a guardian of (not “for”) foreign boarding school pupils (not “students”) is? The guardian has to be married, and at least one person in the house has to have a proper job with a secure, regular and guaranteed income. Rooms in the attic? What do you think this is? Running a cathouse? And when did the word “attic” suddenly have a plural? Uncountable nouns? You are as British as chicken chow mein!

          So, you don’t deny penning stories to an obscene “adult stories” blog for Thailand back in the year 2004 then, do you? That is good to hear!

          You are a LOON, and so are probably a lot of those so-called “frozen pensioners”, judging from the company that they keep.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Toby Esterhazy – I will not enter into verbal insults you and Jackthesmilingblack choose to throw at each other. However, the last sentence of your comment is a disgrace. Remember, you, too, chose to comment and keep the company of frozen pensioners who started this blog……say no more

          • Dez

            Hey guys! Why don’t you and Jack start your own blog and trade verbal insults with each other without hijacking this one which is dealing with serious issues? I’m not expecting you to agree with the argument expounded in the Spectator article but please don’t insult the elderly British pensioners who are suffering financially because of an historical action by the British Government at the time which has never been corrected.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Dez – I trust you are not including me in your perfectly valid comment.
            I think my own remark below is sufficient to endorse that I have sought all along to put the case in favour of the frozen pensioner clearly and only been diverted to correct the misconceptions of others.

          • Dez

            Certainly not Andy. Forgive me if my comment gave that impression! I wanted to try to discourage what seems to be professional bloggers hijacking a serious and responsible debate. Clearly, Toby and Jack are not the ones we need to convince in terms of our case. I just want them to take their prejudices somewhere else and slug it out between themselves!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Hey, you’ll never pin that rap on me. As a UK pensioner residing abroad, I’m 100% on board with the campaign for NI
            increases. It’s Toby (aka Mad Jock McNutter) who is running interference. With the misplaced patriotism of a football hooligan, he gives cyber stalking lunatics a bad name. So give him plenty of verbal. As a masochist he really gets off on
            that. And ask him if he’s been to any British National Party meetings recently up there in Rochdale. You did realise he’s a member of Nick`s “Black Hand Gang”, right?

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            Attic can`t be plural. What an imbecile. Attic No.1, attic No.2 … The house has attics. Never came across that in your deprived and depraved childhood? Guess you just got locked in the cellar. You really need to keep the mile-wide streak of envy in check or it could turn you into a seriously unpleasant person…. OK, as you were.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Since most houses, British or otherwise, do not have more than one attic, I don’t know what kind of autism or schizophrenia you have! You certainly are suffering from some very painful Freudian retention!

          • Jackthesmilingblack

            I realise this could be a shock to a narrow-minded lower order have-not like you, but some large houses in Britain have more than one attic. I should know, I bought one. So suck it up.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Stop trolling! If you ever had such a house, you wouldn’t still be here “hanging around” with us the Plebs, now, would you? Plonker! “Attics” in plural is just about as grammatical as “fishes”!

            A 30-something Oxfordshire-educated Japanese pretending to be a former major British landowner! Almost nothing on the Internet can surprise me any more!

  • Bill Barett

    I receive a UK State Pension and also a Merchant Navy Pension in Australia which are both paid untaxed in the UK. However they are both included in my Australian Income and taxed at the appropriate rate. Maybe Dez should complete some paperwork and do the same.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      This I guess would be an exemption under a Double Taxation Treaty. Such Treaties have been agreed between the UK and some, but not all, countries and apply to some, but not all, emigrants. Always worth investigating but, by definition, such an exemption would only be possible if you are taxed not only in the UK but also by your country of residence on the same income.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “Toby Esterházy is now following you on Discus”
    Turned on the e-mail and there he was, again. Another Hard Day`s Night for Mad Jock McNutter.
    Anyone else getting this cyber stalker`s unwanted attention? Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is only one of his mental health problems. So keep rattling the bars of his cage. A full-blown psychotic episode only one wind-up away.
    “Support mental health or I`ll kill you.”

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      He is following me now, too. His problem not mine.

      Don’t recommend anybody to follow him

      • Toby Esterházy

        Stop talking to another troll when you are yourself a troll! Remember Oxford? Swindon?

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          If anybody knows about trolling it is Toby Esterhazy.

          I am a serious contributor and have you not lied about unsubscribing and not commenting?
          Naughty Toby – George is really less impressed by you…that is if he ever was

  • Brian Corrigan

    Excellent Article !

  • protempore

    I think Andy Robertson-Fox is on a hiding to nothing with Mr Esterhazy. Those of us with a knowledge of right from wrong know this frozen pension policy is a disgraceful way for a government to treat it’s own citizens. The bottom line is that this is DISCRIMINATION, to treat the majority fairly and to treat a minority unfairly when all are entitled to be treated the same is DISCRIMINATION. Either freeze all expats or up-rate all expats because to discriminate is illegal.

    • Toby Esterházy

      Left-wing idiots such as yourself, previously working class or not, got what you rightfully deserved for voting in those traitorous Lib Dems in an attempt to subvert your Old Country for your own ends. Lenin allegedly called the likes of fellow travellers like you “useful idiots”.

      • Andy Robertson-Fox

        The Liberal Democrats actually lost seats at the last general election and were in no way voted in.

        In fact the traditional party of the Left, who had been in power for thirteen years, also lost seats.

        I have no doubt that the billboard at Eastleigh would have been suitably amended and tailored to fit whichever party held the seat and there is no evidence to show the ICBP supports or supported any political party.

        All of which has nothing to do with with your still having to justify the present and past governments frozen pension policy.

        • Toby Esterházy

          No sympathy. You group got burnt for playing with fire.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            1.No one got burnt – sympathy was not sought – merely putting the correct perspective on your statement.

            2. Not relevant to the issue but the abolition of the frozen pension policy was not limited to members of any one of the main political parties.

            3. No idea of the circumstances and would not be so rude as to discuss anyone’s personal business without their prior approval if I did.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Then she should not had campaigned in her own name when she is not in fact prepared to discussion her past contribution record, now, should she?

            We do not have either the Canadian or a British Charter of Rights and Freedoms (conveniently with the “responsibilities” part left out) over here in the United Kingdom, where Parliament is sovereign, not a single dogmatic piece of rotting paper called the Constitution. (The English and Scottish peoples got rid of most of their old Constitutions (medieval Catholic Canon law) during the English and Scottish Protestant Reformation, and never looked back.) The right-thinking British People by and large do not believe that individual rights should be allowed to trump and override the public good (or the public purse). Shouting “discrimination” out aloud and expect the British Government to fall over themselves to sort out any “violations of civil and human rights” and to pay out multi-million compensation are not really how things usually work over here; although increasingly no longer, thanks to the ECHR and the ECtHR.

            Although never actually been to North America, I must confess that I do have non-British relations in British Columbia.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            You may ask her for such information but she is under no obligation to reveal it and it is certainly not my place to discuss her personal circumstances even if I knew them. As far as I am aware she has volunteered none of the information on this thread that you level your conjecture.

            The rest of your reply is, of course, pure personal opinion and not based on any fact and as usual gives no justification for the frozen pension policy and, if you read the article again, you will see that this is actually what this thread is about and not the volumes of off topic diversions in which you seek to impose your own philosophy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Which—the whole idea that there is somehow an “unjustified discrimination”—ultimately originated from the American legal theory, also adopted some decades ago by the Canadians, that civil and human rights are somehow absolute and independent of any defined or supposed responsibilities, even trumping or overriding either the public good or the national interest.

            The word “justification” ultimately comes from Western Christendom, especially the Protestant Reformation of the 16th. century. A person was expected to find a reason to give to God why He ought to save his soul and not send him to Hell for all eternity, and was never the other way round by demanding a “justification” from God for His refusal of leave to enter the Pearly Gates.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            I am not interested in your off the subject theories.

          • Toby Esterházy

            I was only attempting to explain to you that why your campaign would never succeed in its present form. The vast majority of us are not interested in your demands and your even-more-bizarre justifications (how to “save” GBP £20,000,000,000 by paying out GBP £650,000,000 each and every year for the next 20 years with an 8% APR), any more than you are interested in hearing the words from the other side. Why should we listen to you either, when you absolutely refuse to listen to us?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Thank you for your opinion as to why you think the campaign will not succeed in it present form.
            We have heard it all from the other side and have dismantled each and every argument along the way.

            The only obstacle is government intransigence. We will continue to work on that.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Dream on! Like what I had previously said, there is probably more chance of getting University tuition fees abolished and replaced by the old maintenance grant! A sane, sensible and reasonable Country cannot spend a lunatic amount on the elderly and neglecting every-one else, especially her young.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            As you have said it before and it has either been disproved or discredited there is no point in repeating it…it is still no justification for the policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Meanwhile, we have Dole claimants and pensioners having to go to get food parcels, and not payable without the required vouchers! They never have the luxury of election (or choice), or of the additional luxury of actually refusing money payable from the Canadians (even if it was all just a pretence)! Honestly, they don’t really care if the Frozen Pensioners are being discriminated against and having to claim the GIS and other Canadian Provincial income supplement schemes. The more discrimination and more Canadian pennies clawed back from your ungrateful, whiny lot, the merrier, most would probably think! The popularity of your group is probably not far behind from the personal popularity of Fred Goodwin, actually!

          • PossieJim

            Perhaps if you had read the House of Commons Select Committee Report of 1997 you would have noticed how embarrassed the Parliament of the day was of the frozen pension policy?
            They concluded: “Surely no one would have deliberately designed a policy of paying pensions to people living abroad intending to end up in the position we are at today”. They continued: “It would be clearly impractical to negotiate individual bilateral agreements with each other country in which people draw British pensions [there are about 120 of these] and in any case unnecessary [key words!]; a simple change in British law could enable up-ratings to be paid in any or all overseas countries, providing there was the political will to do so.
            It is this “will” which is missing. However by the application of peer group pressure from Britain’s Commonwealth partners, maybe the British Government will finally see the errors of previous Governments’ ways. For it will not do their world role much good to be suspended from their precious Commonwealth, nor will be good for the British Government’s self assumed status.
            I trust you can now modify your language, give up your obvious severe prejudices and accept that you alone will not beat us. We have “right” on our side.
            So slink now into your corner and lick your own self imposed wounds. G’day!

          • Toby Esterházy

            You had lost your argument the moment you started quoting words from the traitorous LABOUR Government, and their solution was no other than to bring in MORE immigrants, asylum-seekers, refugees, European migrants and other foreigners into the United Kingdom, so that there were more coming in than the one leaving as emigrants, in order to make up for the lost blood—at least2 or 3 in, for every 1 out—so as to make universal full indexation less and less unaffordable; unfortunately, the British People back at home, however, would just simply not accept any longer such a drastic ethno-demographic change, which was increasingly lacking popular mandate or support.

            Now, look here! You are an AUSTRALIAN, now! You even begin to write like one, and no doubt you already speak like one! It is NO GOOD for you to suddenly wave the British “Union Jack” (Union Flag) about and pretend that you were British to the core, that you had never left the British shores for a single day in your life, and that therefore somehow you deserved to be treated “like everybody else”. For most of the left-behind Britons (especially of working age; there are after all the poor mugs who are actually paying for your frozen pensions), you are NO MORE ENTITLED to even a single Queen’s Penny more than one of your fellow old compatriot, a Mrs. Irene Cockcroft (Class of the yr. 1988), who now speaks broad Australian. It is simply no good to wave your British birth certificate about! Any additional claim (other than a frozen British State Retirement Pension, free of British Income Tax) should lie with the Government of the Commonwealth of Australia, and Canberra (the Australian Tax-payer) alone. All this is like the re-married mother telling her (adopted) children to write hate mail to their also-remarried (biological) father, demanding additional child support money in the form of pocket money!

            The Government of Canada might have been lying to the Canadian People that the Canadian Pension Plan and the Canadian Old-Age Security scheme were both somehow not payments of charity but something else, that they were somehow “earned”; but unfortunately, all this is a lie, and we back in the United Kingdom certainly since the 1980s no longer hold that kind of view with regards to the British State Retirement Pension or other components of the British National Insurance schemes.

            In my personal view, I would even go even one step further and propose a 30% special withholding tax, outside of any double-taxation treaties, conventions or agreements and regardless of income, on the already frozen state pensions payable in Canada and Australia, for persons under the age of 80 years and are not also receiving a Forces’ or a Public Service pension. We have pensioners, the disabled and the unemployed back home in Britain who are queuing with their vouchers outside of local food banks, whilst we pay your lot to conspire and campaign against the interests of the British Tax-payer? The nerve of it all!

            The matter of fact is, NO Government of any COUNTRY bar the Government of Canada would pay pensioners everywhere in the World in full. Like any “good” insurance scheme in the real, commercial World, there are always exclusions—mostly unpublished, of course (most Countries outside of the English-speaking World do not have the equivalent of the Canadian Access to Information Act and the Freedom of Information Acts, and thus do not have a legal obligation to publish any such exclusions)—and furthermore, the ones left behind often get to receive additional cash benefits, in addition to the additional benefits in kind, and both are not available to those abroad, effectively a form de facto of freezing.

          • PossieJim

            G’day again Toby, Your latest rant shows that you are strangling yourself with your racist prejudices. It seems from your opening rant that you have probably not read the 120 page Parliamentary Select Committee report from which I quoted and which was set up by the “traitorous” [your word] Tories, led at the time by John Major. It was not a Labour committee although there were some Labour members on it.
            I know we will not convince you, so there is no point in even discussing this issue any further with you, but for those who might read all your comments it does show how stupid myopic and biased some people become and the fact that millions leave the UK, as they have done for centuries, taking the good word of the British way of life to the world should be recognised for the good it has done in many areas. Unfortunately prejudices like you demonstrated in these exchanges show the world there is still much to be done, even back in the UK, to better educate some British citizens who are left behind failing to practice what they preach about equality, fairness and non-discrimination.

  • Toby Esterházy

    Nothing too controversial or more controversial possible to add here, but I am sorry, this is obviously the rubbish part of the Spectator that probably no-one actually reads, British, Australian or otherwise, other than the directly interested parties, when the proprietors and the management decided not to bother with putting up the Pay Wall, as it is the case with the rest of the main parts of the Spectator other than the Blogs.

  • Toby Esterházy

    According to Private International Law, or what the Americans would also call on the Conflict of Laws, or conflicts-of-laws, as accepted by Her Majesty in right of the Crown in right of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom, to correct a civil wrong is impermissible if such a correction would override (domestic) public order (ordre public). In Canada, where immigrants and foreigners arguably in some respects have more rights than the Queen’s natural-born born subjects in Canada beyond the wildest imagination of the British readers of the English Daily Mail tabloid, the question of whether domestic public order may be overridden to correct a civil wrong might be different. An arrangement which would bankrupt the British Treasury, Exchequer and Paymaster-General in less than 30 years’ time without having to double the present rate of British income, inheritance, corporation and capital gains taxes as well as stamp duties—even in 30 years’ time—cannot be said to be of anything but be against domestic public order.

    Ordre public or public order is necessarily domestic in nature, because Her Majesty in right of the Crown in right of Her Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom does not exercise, nor claim to exercise, nor claim the right to exercise, extraterritorial jurisdiction over British subjects beyond the seas, not to mention expatriate British pensioners in general regardless of past or present legal nationality or national citizenship.

    • Andy Robertson-Fox

      Interesting but hypothetical and irrelevant.

      • Toby Esterházy

        I think that the creditors from the First World War should be repaid FIRST, don’t you?

        • Andy Robertson-Fox

          If the debt to any remaining First World War creditors is to be met then it is the responsibility of all UK citizens to contribute in order to do so and the requirement must be levied equally and fairly. It is not a weapon with which to beat just 4% of all UK retired pensioners in isolation.

          As usual you present no justification for the frozen pension policy.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Indexation is a discretionary bonus; it is not “earned” by any means.

            The only persons who have a contract with the Crown on behalf of the British Government are the creditors of the First World War.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            It is a requirement of the government to ensure that pensions are monitored and kept in line with the cost of living in the UK and has been so for over eighty years. This was not always an annual increase but has now become so.

            Indexation increases the basic pension which was a “contract’ between the individual (to pay contributions) and the government to pay a pension.

            The issue remains the discriminatory manner in which the frozen pension policy operates and for which you still offer no justification.

          • Toby Esterházy

            A Legal Fiction. A contributor within the National Insurance scheme does NOT have a “contract” with the Crown on behalf of the British Government. A true contract is one that is freely entered into between two equals.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Not fiction – look it up.
            Why do you persist in showing your ignorance of the NI Act and seeking to divert the thread away by going off on totally irrelevant tangents from the main theme – the frozen pension scandal?
            And still no justification for the policy from Toby Esterhazy for one very simple reason….there is no justification despite those fabricated in his mind.

          • Toby Esterházy

            A “social contract” is not a legally-enforceable one (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_contract ). The National Insurance Acts have all been long repealed, unless you were referring to the ones on the Isle of Man.

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            So what?

            Not all obligations are legally enforceable either but are matters of trust and conscience and changes of name make no difference to the current situation.

            What is your justification for the frozen pension policy – given that all the reasons thus so far expounded have been demolished.

          • Toby Esterházy

            And is it conscionable to rob Peter the British Workman to pay Paul the Expatriate Pensioner by piling on £650,000,000 of unfunded liabilities each and every year? As I had done so previously, I am asking you, where does the money going to come from? Why do expatriate pensioners have the right to relieve £650,000,000 every single year with an 8% APR from the present British workmen, without so much as a “by your leave”?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            If you read back over the various entries in this thread you will find the answers to you questions and totally unsustainable comments have all been covered several times over.

            After all you have had over three weeks since your last effort and still have no justification for the policy.

            I will not waste my time anymore on correcting the inaccuracies being made by someone who is simply so biased that he cannot or rather refuses to recognise the truth.

          • Toby Esterházy

            And how many years would it take to deplete a fund of GBP £28,000,000,000 by GBP £650,000,000 with an 8% APR?

          • Andy Robertson-Fox

            Your arithmetic may be correct but the basis for your calculation is not. Read the thread and you will find this has already been dealt with.

          • Toby Esterházy

            Just how many more parts of the British Government have to be privatised in order to fund a whole new and potentially-bottomless line of regular Government expenditure, I fear!

  • David MacPhail

    It is a shame that after a person has served their purpose by paying tax or fighting a war or serving their country in one way or another, that that the government of that country decide to ignore them. This may be because those people to whom we owe so much have become the silent minority, the un-squeeking wheel. They no longer have the get up and go or fight in them that they once had because they are tired after a lifetime of sacrifice in the name of decency and a fair go for everyone. Pensioners need to form their own political party lobbying against unfair pension reduction or freezing. It is obvious that the political aspirations of the individual does not always tow the party political line. Its nothing short of robbery when it comes to this and the people passing this unfair legislation might just as well put their own hands into the pockets of pensioners and thieve from them what is theirs by right. Shame on you in power. Vote with your heart and be fair to the pensioners living overseas.

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