Pensioners discuss their contribution to Britain
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The state pension triple lock will return next year, rising the sum in line with inflation in what will be an “£870 increase” according to the Chancellor. However, not everyone will benefit, as increases are only available in countries including the UK, European Economic Area, Gibraltar, Switzerland and countries with a social security agreement with the UK – but not Canada or New Zealand.
Last week, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt committed to the triple lock, and told the Commons: “There is no more British value than our commitment to protect and honour those who built the country we live in.”
However, those missing out on the triple lock due to their decision to live overseas have disputed Mr Hunt’s vow to protect pensioners.
Express.co.uk spoke exclusively to representatives from the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) to gauge the reaction to Mr Hunt’s statement.
John Duffy, chairman of the ICBP, now resides in Antigua after living and working in the UK for decades.
Mr Duffy hit out at what he described as the “disingenuous” nature of the Government, in its promise to protect pensioners.
He said: “I was in business myself for 37 years in the UK – at times I was employing up to 40 people.
“I was paying employer’s National Insurance contributions, and doing everything that comes along with that. You’re a free tax collector for the Government when you’re running your own business.
“I feel I’ve made a reasonable contribution to this country. I don’t see why I should be excluded just because I decided to retire abroad.”
The sentiment was shared by Sheila Telford, former chairman of the ICBP, currently based in Canada.
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Ms Telford continued: “I flew the flag for Britain – I flew with British Airways and then I worked for British Petroleum (BP) for many years. I was very British.
“I feel I have made a huge contribution to this country.
“I have had two well-educated sons born in Britain who have returned to live here and are once again contributing to British society.
“I’ve done my bit for Britain, there’s no doubt about it.”
Patrick Edwards, a director at the ICBP, expressed frustration with Mr Hunt’s statement last week concerning pensioners.
He described the remark as “simply a nice soundbite”, and urged the Government to do more to protect pensioners living overseas.
Mr Edwards added: “I’ve worked overseas for many years, but for a British company. I’ve contributed to exports from the UK in quite a large way.”
Ian Andexser, who also holds directorship of the ICBP, stated many pensioners now living overseas have contributed to building the country.
He highlighted numerous groups of pensioners often considered to have provided significant support to the country such as the Windrush Generation and veterans could be missing out if they choose to live abroad.
Consequently, the director also took issue with the statement made by Mr Hunt.
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He explained: “I think it is simply unfair to suggest perhaps because people have moved overseas that they haven’t helped to establish or build Britain.
“If you want to use that rule, you could say Richard Branson has done nothing because he’s chosen to live overseas.
“So many wealthy people have left the UK, but this is where they have established their careers, just as I did.
“I was young when I left the UK, I only had six years of contributions when I went to Canada.
“But they had no trouble in taking my money when they knew I could still contribute to the system – and nobody ever told me my pension would be frozen when I eventually reached that age.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “We understand people move abroad for many reasons and that this can impact on their finances. There is information on GOV.UK about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK state pension.
“The Government’s policy on the uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”
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