icbp logo                      International Consortium of British Pensioners

                                                 c/o 202-4800 Dundas Street West, Toronto, Ontario ON M9A 1B1


Ms Maria Miller                                                                                     May 23rd, 2013

Minister for Women and Equalities

Dear Ms Miller

I am writing to you in my capacity as Chairman of the International Consortium of British Pensioners, a group that represents the interests of almost 600,000 British Pensioners living abroad.

You were a member of the Inter Ministerial group that was responsible for the conceptual thinking that led to the creation of the Equality Act of 2010. I would like to congratulate you on the breadth of the vision that went into that Act, which must lead to a better society.

If I may, I would like to quote from the report of the Inter Ministerial group.

“We will work to protect and promote the rights of British citizens abroad and use our influence to change culture and attitudes and promote equality, leading by example.”

As British Citizens living abroad, we would like your support, and that of your colleagues on the group, in helping to end a long-standing discriminatory practice. It is a practice that can be ended literally by the stroke of a pen, and would stand out as a shining example of the commitment to actually practice equality, rather than just talk about it.

I am speaking of the discriminatory practice of selectively refusing to uprate state pensions paid to British Citizens who live in certain countries. Their pensions are frozen at the amount they first receive, for the rest of their lives, resulting in a 90 year-old pensioner getting about a third of the pension a 65 year-old pensioner, even living in the same frozen country.  We believe that this unequal treatment is a clear case of age discrimination.

The British Government has acknowledged that this is an anomaly, but that cost constraints do not allow it to be resolved at this time, even though the actual cost to resolve it is estimated to be less than 1% of current annual pension expenditures.

We recognise that there is a cost, although there have been economic studies done that show there are net savings to the UK if a pensioner emigrates to another country. More importantly, the UK Supreme Court has recently stated (O’Brien [Appellant] v Ministry of Justice 2013 UKSC 6,) thatbudgetary considerations [costs] cannot justify discrimination”

As you were one of the architects of the guiding principles of the Equality Act, we ask for your support in stopping this unfair and discriminatory treatment of British pensioners living abroad. All we ask is that you let us know that you agree that our cause is just, and that basic principles of equality are at stake.

Yours sincerely

Sheila Telford

Chairman, International Consortium of British Pensioners



  1. Gale Bailey says

    I will be writing to the Minister this week. By living abroad, this means ‘outside the European community’ but what puzzles me is why those living in Spain and other relatively wam countries receive the heating allowance. How ridiculous is that? My husband and I pay a substantial amount each month for private health and are no longer a burden on the state (I needed a knee replacement and my husband had an accident which resulted in an operation on his knee). We have saved the NHS thousands of pounds as others living overseas have done so feel we ought to be rewarded by being paid our rightful amount of pension!
    Best regards – Gale Bailey

  2. First class letter ,but you do not mention the steady devaluation of the Pound Sterling . In the last few years it has lost about forty percent of its value . Obviously this also affects expatriate pensioners .
    Kindest regards ,
    Ronald W.B.Burnett .

  3. Brian Lager says

    The proposal will not affect those currently in possession of a state pension living abroad. If you read the comments of the minister, Steve Webb, he is aiming to stop pensions of NON UK citizens who receive a pension based on their spouses work history in the UK. I fear though that this is just the beginning of a concerted effort to deny any uprating.
    They don’t seem to get it that the UK pension plan has a huge surplus and, being fair to those of us who did pay into the scheme is the right thing to do. The pension money doesn’t actually come from the governments coffers. It comes from contributors, such as ourselves.
    I was in Her Majesties Armed Forces but receive NO military pension because I was released prior to 1972. Even though money was set aside for my pension I cannot get it because of this ridiculous ruling. The excuse being they needed a cut off date and chose 1972 at random.

  4. George Morley says

    Great letter Sheila and a good move. If they are serious about the Equality Act then they have to look at this problem.

  5. Martin Moss says

    Dear Ms. Telford,

    I totally agree with you. However, I have just heard something very frightening from some pensioners from England visiting Toronto. They told me that the British government are considering STOPPING ALL pensions for British pensioners living abroad!

    I don’t need to tell you that will be devastating for most of these seniors that have paid into the pension fund for 30 years or more, and even served in the British armed forces in the defense of Great Britain.

    Yours truly,

    Martin Moss
    Toronto, Canada
    Formerly Leeds, England

  6. I have left numerous comments on various sites on the internet but you seldom see any progressive news. The old argument of cost is a lot of rubbish! As an example I had to have major ( and I mean MAJOR ) surgery here in Malaysia. I had an abdominal aortic aneurism which ruptured and I was rushed to hospital by ambulance for an emergency operation. I won’t go into details of the operation except to say that the recovery included quite some time in intensive care. Two weeks into recovery I contacted pneumonia and again had another two weeks of special care.

    The medical treatment and after-care I received was second to none and I made a good recovery. I can imagine that if it was done on the NHS it would have cost well upwards of GBP50,000 and that’s probably a very conservative estimate! Now that’s just one example, but with probably a lot more cases how much does the UK government save by robbing us pensioners. There is no way that they would be “out of pocket”. Yes I am a British pensioner living overseas and no I am not “well-off”. I need my pension and I need it increased NOW!! But of course the MP’s need to provide for their own expenses. A fairly recent article commented on one lady MP who was claiming about GBP90,000 in expenses alone!! Preposterous.

    I also noted an article in the papers about the pension reforms scheduled for 2016 saying that “foreign” wives who have not paid any contributions in their own right will not be able to claim on their husbands contributions. Another stab in the back for pensioners? WE paid our NI contributions yet we still don’t get what is rightfully ours. A case of if you haven’t paid, you won’t get, and if you have paid you still won’t get.

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