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Altmann hits out at 'hateful' state pension campaign bullying

Pensions minister Ros Altmann has accused the Women Against State Pension Inequality campaign of bullying her.

 
Altmann hits out at 'hateful' state pension campaign bullying

Pensions minister Ros Altmann has accused the Women Against State Pension Inequality (Waspi) campaign of bullying her.

The Waspi campaign was set up in April last year in a bid to oppose the government's programme of state pension age equalisation, enshrined in the 1995 Pensions Act but accelerated in a further 2011 Act.

At the time the latter was being debated, Altmann called on the government to think again, saying the subsequent delays in female state pension age would leave hundreds of thousands of women without sufficient time to make up income shortfalls.

But Waspi supporters have criticised Altmann on social media for not supporting them since she became a minister in May last year.

Altmann told The Telegraph she had been bullied and insulted by the campaign, and that it had distributed her email address to supporters.

‘I can’t begin to describe how hurtful and hateful the comments about me have been. The insults and the bullying of the campaigners have really shocked me,’ she said.

'These women have emailed me horrid and vile messages, such as hoping I get struck down with cancer, that I’m a traitor, a turncoat and that I’ve sold my soul to the devil. 'I’ve found it very, very distressing. I’m not looking for sympathy but I’ve been bullied, I’ve been insulted and I’ve been vilified. As someone who has spent my life trying to help people with their pensions, I’ve never seen a campaign that seems to be so personal.’

The Waspi campaign is calling for ‘fair transitional arrangements’ for women born in the 1950s affected by the changes. The topic has now been debated three times in parliament.

But Altmann has insisted that the campaign’s aims are not what they seem.

‘This campaign isn’t about equality. It’s actually advocating state pension inequality. The pension changes simply bring women into line with men. It doesn’t make sense for women to be expecting to get their state pensions before men can claim theirs. Why do they think they are a special case?’

‘Waspi has been misleading people into thinking that they are calling for something reasonable when actually they are not. It would cost £2 billion to give this group of women what the campaign is asking for. Where do you stop?’ she added.Waspi co-founder Anne Keen has denied the campaign is responsible for any abuse, and that the email address distributed was already publicly available.

‘Waspi is not responsible for any abuse and we certainly do not condone any personal attacks on Ros Altmann,’ she said.

‘I gave out an email address that was publicly available on her website to a few thousand Waspi followers. I did not do that with any ill intent. We’ve asked our supporters to keep their emails respectful at all times.’

‘Ros contacted me to say she had received abuse and asked me not to give out her email again and I have not done so.’

76 comments so far. Why not have your say?

Jane Davies

Feb 08, 2016 at 15:37

Nasty evil comments are unacceptable but I'm afraid it is what happens when one accepts a public office. It's the DWP that these women should have targeted as it is they who failed to get the word out to everyone involved. Having said that Ros Altmann was a supporter for years of the fight to unfreeze the state pension for the 4% who suffer this injustice just because of where they live, and unlike the WASPI women who got a debate, in fact I believe more than one debate, the frozen 4% have after decades of suffering this loss of their rightful indexing still haven't had one. Now we find our ally has joined the likes of Steve Webb, another 'supporter' to the ending of the frozen pension scandal, who , like Ms Altmann did nothing once he became pensions minister. It would seem being a turncoat is a requirement for doing the job.

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PaulSh

Feb 08, 2016 at 16:23

Nothing is "rightful" when it comes to the State Pension because it's not a money purchase scheme. When you pay NI you are not building up a pension pot to draw later, you are paying the pensions of current pensioners. Taking an even wider view, it costs the country even more to pay pensions to ex-pats because that money goes from the UK economy into the economy of another country and therefore counts against our balance of payments - it's pure bottom-line deficit. So I don't really see why ex-pats should get any State Pension at all, let alone have it indexed.

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Anonymous 1 needed this 'off the record'

Feb 08, 2016 at 16:44

Women received their pensions much earlier than men and often lived much longer, so benefited relatively much more. In 1981 this amounted to 11 years. They still live longer (and are predicted to do so into the foreseeable future() and are still going to receive their pensions earlier than men in the immediate future.. This is the real scandal, equality for men is a pipe dream when it comes to pensions. Perhaps women should work longer than men before they receive a pension and only receive it later for the next 20 or 30 years to even things up? I post this anonymously for fear of bullying.

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Jane Davies

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:08

PaulSh. If all expat pensions were frozen then that would at least be a level playing field but the majority do receive annual increases in line with cost of living, just 4% do not for no reason than just because of where they happen to live. Your argument about the money going from the UK economy is not justified. Do you never go abroad and spend your money? Do you only buy British goods? Where does it state when paying for ones pensions whether private or state that one has to have a UK address to receive what you have paid for? Yes when todays pensioners paid their NI for 44 years they were paying for their grandparents state pensions, that's how it has always been it's a given. Also each expat senior saves the UK economy 4,000 pounds a year and there are 1.1 million of them....you do the math. I may suggest you avail yourself of the frozen pension scandal then you will see how illogical and blatantly unfair and discriminatory the whole thing is. Oh and by the way....expats are still assessable to pay UK tax.

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RobtheFox

Feb 08, 2016 at 17:38

Paul Sh. When one pays one's NI contribution it is correct that the money does not go into an investment pot but in return for those contributions one accrues qualifying years towards ones pension. It was 44 years but is now 35 years in order to get the full pension but if one has not got the required number of qualifying years then the pensıon is reduced or, in some cases, not payable at all.

In essence, therefore, it is a "contract" and one has bought and paid for it.

Jane Davies has covered the savings to the UK economy by retirees living abroad, even in those countries where there is index linking. The DWP has acknowledged that the savıngs are about £3,800 per pensıoner per year.

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Dennis .

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:10

Jane Davies, becoming and ex pat is surely a choice that you make and you know the rules. It's a bit like the 7% who have paid for their kids' education twice ie private school but no rebate from the state sector for unused places.

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Mike Rose

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:11

I would agree that nasty evil comments are unacceptable. However, it is easy to see why people are annoyed. Ros Altmann used to be the savers champion. However, since she became a minister, I havent seen her speaking out against the appalling interest rates being offered to savers. Neither has she campaigned for fair and equal pension treatment for existing pensioners regarding the new flat rate state pension.

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George Morley

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:11

Paul Sh. I do not need to add anything with respect to the state pension issue which as Steve Webb admitted is an entitlement and not a benefit. DWP like to include the state pension because it makes the frozen pension look like a gift which it is'nt is it ? Their department would be called the DWB if the pension was such. At least you are now better informed if dealing with this pension.

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Thrugelmir

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:29

Sign of the times unfortunately. British culture has become increasingly rude and aggressive. Times are going to get even tougher. People need to take personal responsibility than constantly whine for a bigger share of a non existant cake.

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George Morley

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:37

Dennis, what you say is unfortunate untrue and it was only in recent years that pensioners were told and they have said that they ceased to write to pensioners about this because the information is available on line assuming that everyone has a computer ir would go to the library to use one and find out.

No, it is a lack of proper communication by the DWP that has caused the problem.

Due to the tinkering over the years the situation has come about whereby the majority of pensioners abroad are indexed which means that the minority, us, are asking for equality with the 96% who get indexed which is fair.

When all pensioners have paid into the system under the same terms and conditions when working the frozen pensioners should receive their entitlement like everyone else.

Yes, 'entitlement' as even Steve Webb acknowledged although he did nothing about it..

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RobtheFox

Feb 08, 2016 at 18:43

Dennis whether one knows the rules or not is irrelevant as it does not make them any the less discriminatory. The frozen pensioner is not looking for a rebate but for parity with the 96% of all pensioners who receive index linking but ıs denıed to them. There is no comparison with the education system.

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dab

Feb 08, 2016 at 19:16

This is about breach of contract by the government. No company pension scheme would be allowed to do what they have done. They have reduced pension benefits people had already accrued (I.e. up to the time the change in retirement ages was announced). The men vs women thing is simply a smoke-screen. Men are affected too, but not as badly.

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Pat Strong

Feb 08, 2016 at 19:20

I wouldn't condone what some women have said, though I can understand their anger when Ros Altmann in the above article says "‘This campaign isn’t about equality. It’s actually advocating state pension inequality. The pension changes simply bring women into line with men. It doesn’t make sense for women to be expecting to get their state pensions before men can claim theirs. Why do they think they are a special case?’

She really hasn't got a clue, as far as I wax aware, I am not a waspi but born in the 50's, so adversely affected, is that it is right to equalise, it is not right to fail to tell people or give them adequate warning, it's has been proved that women were not told about the changes, all waspi want is fair transitional arrangements to protect women from hardship due to serious maladministration in the DWP communications. At least Ros. Altmann should understand this, or hadn't she been listenening.

As for the frozen pensions, it is ridiculous to penalise some pensioners for their choices over where they live. This is a grave injustice and should be corrected.if you are promised indexing when you paid into the scheme, you should get it. I for one hope, and see a light at the end of the tunnel, for this to be put right.

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 10:17

I think the issue is that people wrongly think that state pension is a contract it is not and if you lived through the 80's when it was clear that it might not even be there when you retire- you would have saved for your retirement. If you rely on something which is not in stone and can been changed depending on what other departments need in the public sector then you are a fool. The women need to put up and shut and it is a disgrace that they are bullying. I would have given them no warning they should never have been able to retire early. In fact, no one as ever given a reason for this injustice- I suspect it was because men marry younger women in general. The X pats have no case. They need to investigate why there pension is frozen in places like Australia- it is to do with Australia unwilling to accept the UK financial rules which other countries do (look at the bigger picture). Hence, if you move to some countries you get the full pension- again if you moved to a country and did not know this then again you were a fool. People need to realise that 'SOMEONE AS TO PAY FOR THE PUBLIC SECTOR' the money does not grow on trees (Greece reduced it's state pension). Any government at any time cannot keep all the population happy- there will be winners and losers. For me women have had it to easy for to long allowing them to retire 5 years earlier then men. At last we have justice but look at how many schools and hospitals were not built because of this injustice.

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Pat Strong

Feb 09, 2016 at 10:44

Wow, wish I was as black and white as Chris Powell, though, maybe looking at the facts, considering justice, fairness, trust and reasonableness, perhaps on second thoughts.... I'm so happy to be me, with my well considered views and the ability to look at the whole picture. Ah well, sometimes we just have to happily agree to differ!

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 10:51

Pat, thanks for admitting I am right by not being able to give any reason why I am wrong.

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RobtheFox

Feb 09, 2016 at 11:42

Chrıs Powell you are so wrong. The "contract" is that in return for the mandatory NI contributions into the ring fenced NI Fund (currently showing a surplus of £19.08 billion) one accrues qualifying years towards a state pension payable on claimıng at or after attaining the state retirement age.

The case of the Waspı petitioners as I understand it is not against the pension eventually becoming payable to both men and women at the same age but that the transitional arrangements for the women are unrealistically disproportionate.

Whatever the truth there can be no call for abuse and bulleyıng tactıcs; people need to realise that the Minister, Ros Altmann, does not have free rein over the finance available, it is governed by the Treasury and Chancellor of the Exchequer.

As regards the expats the case is quite simple. The 4% of Uk pensioners world wide who do not get index linkıng havıng met the same contribution conditions during their working lives as everyone else are discriminated against, whereas the remainıng 96%, of whıch some half a million also live abroad are not. The country of residence is irrelevant, the discrimination is not and the appalling record of the DWP in making the frozen pension information available is legendary.

As regards Australia the agreement was termiated in 2000/2001 when the Uk government refused to include the uprating provision and Duncan Smith has subsequently reneged on agreement to reopen discussions on the issue.

Canada, by the way, has an agreement signed in 1976 but it does not include pensions (although they uprate theirs universally) as the UK were unhappy about the Social Security and Welfare arrangements. Having made the necessary administration and legislation adjustments the UK government in 1979 then refused to cooperate.

However the DWP has confırmed that such agreements are not necessary (FOI March 2013) and the UK can uprate unilaterally if it was not so unreasonably intransigent.

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 11:56

Robert you've signed a contract with the government which was signed by the then Chancellor to pay you a certain pension in retirement. I must have missed to sign mine. You have to sign a contract for it to be worth anything. NI is a tax when are people going to realise such a simple concept.

So you don't think it as anything to do with Australia and Canada- and yet we have agreement with most other countries. I think your answer is far to simplistic. I know UK banks don't like doing business in Australia due to their financial laws and lack of co-operation with the UK government.

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James Tilley

Feb 09, 2016 at 12:01

Chris Powell how utterly superior can a Pom like you be!

That this UK pension regulation is unfair is undoubted. The Parliamentary Select Committee report of as long ago as 1996-7 states, “Britain was alone among the OECD countries in discriminating between pensioners in different overseas countries, rejecting any suggestion of compromise”. From the same report it continues, “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… A simple change in British law could enable upratings to be paid in any or all overseas countries, provided the political will was there to do so." Any political will was AWOL.

Pension freezing for some, less than the 650,000 expats whose pensions are indexed, is blatant discrimination and the Charter of the Commonwealth clearly states " we are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination". How can the UK government justify indexing the pensions of UK pensioners retired in Jamaica and Barbados but not those in Trinidad, Antigua and Dominica? How come that Filipinos have their UK pensions indexed but not the thousands of Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis?

How come it has not clicked with the Government that if they did index all UK pensions, thousands of Indians Pakistanis etc would probably leave the UK to retire back home and thus save the Treasury £billions in National Health services, free pensioners' prescriptions, bus passes, winters power subsidies etc? This potential mass migration could help the net migration stats reach a more acceptable level

Finally the NI account now has a balance of almost £30 billions!

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Pat Strong

Feb 09, 2016 at 12:02

Btw Chris, you're definitely wrong. I just couldn't be bothered to educate you and was being ridiculously sarcastic because you made me smile.

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RobtheFox

Feb 09, 2016 at 12:39

Chris Powell - just four points because it looks like James Tilley has scuppered your arguments, already.

Firstly, did you not notice that I used inverted commas when describing the contract and are you not aware that a signature is not an essential on a contract with or without commas - hence a verbal contract can be valid.

Second point "we have an agreement with most other countries" you say. There are 197 countries throughout the world. The UK has agreement with 33 covered by the EU regulations and just 14 by so called bilateral agreements.

Third point, the relationship between the UK banks and Australia has no relevance to the discrimination.

Fourth poınt, my name is not Robert.

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Pat Strong

Feb 09, 2016 at 12:41

Robthefox -

James Tilley -

Well said. That is all!

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 13:07

I apologise Rob- no excuse.

There is no verbal contract. Did the chancellor meet you and say he would pay you a certain pension? I don't think so. NI is a tax. It should have been a fund that the government could not touch and it should have been paid out to everyone at the same age.

If you move to a country that the government can't agree on financial issues then you can discriminate until there is full agreement between the countries. That is the way finance works. This is irrelevant anyway because it was a tax you paid.

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RobtheFox

Feb 09, 2016 at 15:31

Chris - Apology accepted.

I did not say there was a verbal contract but simply pointed out that a written one is not essential. However, if you Google the government website on applying for an NI number it will tell you all you need to know about what applyıng for one entails and what it entitles you to.

NI is not a tax as it is a contributory scheme and such contributions can be made voluntarily; people working overseas or the non employed can still make contributions to protect their pension rights but, unlike tax, there is no obligation to do so and the NI Fund is ring fenced.

What another country chooses to do is for that country to decide but it has no bearing on the responsibility of the UK government in relation to the payment of the state retiremnent pension.

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 15:44

OK if it is not a tax then why would the government want to spend all the money NI raises if they were contracted to pay future pension. If the government could not borrow money (like Greece) and it had a choice to reduce the spending on the NHS or Schools or reduce the state pension which one would they do! We know in Greece they cut the state pension would the UK government be any different. NI is a tax and one Gordon Brown liked to increase.

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Jane Davies

Feb 09, 2016 at 16:22

The government are allowed to borrow from the fund but they must pay it back with interest. It is NOT a tax.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Insurance_Fund

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 17:57

The UK received £54 Billion from NI in 2015 and we spent £149.8 Billion on pensions. Source HMRC

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Chris Powell

Feb 09, 2016 at 18:53

Quite fascinating:

The NI fund is invested in gilts which are loans to the government. When NI contributions are larger than the benefits then the fund accumulates gilts.

Jane is quite right that the government can't touch this money. However, the Government before 1989 used to supplement the fund from other forms of tax which were then stopped. By 1993 NI contributions came in so low that the fund was exhausted and the government of the day introduced the Treasury Grant. This grant can increase the funding by up to 17% of the yearly pension benefit to keep the fund positive.

As of the 29th January the NI fund stud at £19.1 billion which is down from £53, billion in 2009. If the government of the day does not for fill the treasury grant or decides to scrap it then the surplus will be wiped out and the state pension would have to be reduced because the NI Fund would run out of money.

The national insurance fund is a nominal account and unless NI is increased it relies on other taxes which we might think in the future are spent more wisely on schools and the NHS.

In all but name it is a tax and the government could decide not to contribute to the national insurance fund which would mean the state pension would have to be reduced.

The fact's are that all the NI contribution is spent on todays pensioners and a small part on the NHS, the NI fund is just a buffer. The buffer as reduced from £53 billion to £19 billion because the government is refusing to put more money into the fund.

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RobtheFox

Feb 09, 2016 at 19:16

The NI Fund has not required topping up in the past twenty years and although the surplus has diminished GAD has indicated that the surplus will increase (as it has over the last few months) and will be adequate not only to maintain the recommended one sixth of total the annual expenditure in reserve but to keep the surplus at over £30 billion; suffıcıent at current levels to last untıl around 2025.

The NI Act requires the government to ensure that the Fund is adequate to meet demand either by topping up from general taxation or adjusting the level of NI contributions.

The expenditure on the State Retırement Pensıon ın 2014/15 was not £149.8 billion but £86.5 billion. I suspect your figures included public service pensions whıch are funded from general taxation.

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Dennis .

Feb 09, 2016 at 21:04

I think that the real problem is that the NI fund doesn't actually exist. For the system to have worked properly they would have to have started a state pension scheme and then not paid out any pensions for 40 years or so to let the fund build up (just as you do with a private pension). Clearly this was not an option for a government so pensions are actually paid out of current taxation/NI.

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James Tilley

Feb 09, 2016 at 23:12

It seems to me and stands to reason that the NI charge should be increased marginally to ensure this scheme continues to work, for in reality retired people are living longer, the volume being paid pensions is increasing. However politically I'd guess that is something most governments would be loathe to do. It's basic accounting and economics. Its all about rate/price and volume.

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George Morley

Feb 10, 2016 at 01:03

Chris Powell, your comment " Pat, thanks for admitting I am right by not being able to give any reason why I am wrong." Not replying says no such thing !

That is just as incorrect as saying that a contract needs a signature .

Your figures for the 9th Feb 2016 at 17.15 are incorrect and you failed to give

a reference , like your response to PAT we will take it as a wrong guess. see : https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/472142/National_Insurance_Fund_Accounts_Great_Britain_2014_to_2015.pdf

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Dennis .

Feb 10, 2016 at 09:50

Haven't you people nothing better to do than moan about things on forums like this. No one who matters is listening to you!

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RobtheFox

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:46

Sorry, Dennis, I didn't realise that you don't matter!!

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Pat Strong

Feb 10, 2016 at 10:48

How sad Dennis that you think you are not listened to. Still never mind, you can always stay away from forums like this can't you.

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James Tilley

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:07

Dennis I suggest you visit this website www.telegraph.co.uk/frozenpensions/ and see the extent of the support we have and the reasons for our campaign.for justice. Also visit the Parliamentary website http://frozenbritishpensions.org and see the level of activity under way in Westminster to resolve this appalling example of British Government pension policy and hypocrisy. Also "search" under the heading of "frozen pensions" in the Independent The Guardian The Times and the Financial Times; you will be surprised I'm sure at the support we have generated in the quality UK press. http://www.easterneye.eu/news/uk-news/Frozen%3A+Pensions+bias+leaves+Asians+cold/4432

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Chris Powell

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:42

Rob and others I still don't think you get the point.

The Tories have cut NI slightly since they have been in power, some people are saying NI should not be paid by the poor and in fact some people say NI should not exist and other taxes should be increased.

If a government was to cut NI and so the fund always relies on other taxes which might happen (and it would have done pre 1980's) it will give a government the ability to reduce the state pension in a crisis. The NI fund does have to act as a buffer but any government can reduce the NI tax take, they then can reduce the state pension for everyone or freeze it and still keep the buffer fund at what it is on 26/1/2016 at £19.1 Billion.

Yes, I agree I included the public sector pensions by mistake and realise NI is spent on the state pension and the NI fund as to be in surplus (Rob I agree). However, non of this stops a government reducing NI contributions and reducing the state pension or freezing it when times are hard and when other public sector departments need the money more.

The state pension is only as permanent as the financial state a country is in and is why Greece was able to reduce it's pensions. NI is a tax which as to be spent on the state pension- nothing more and nothing less. Scrapping it would give a government much more flexibility in a crisis.

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Chris Powell

Feb 10, 2016 at 11:58

George- taken from your link and thank you.

'Treasury Grant of £4.6 billion was made in 2014-15

(see note 3 for more detail). Without a Treasury Grant the closing balance on the Fund would have been £16.3

billion. Following the Treasury Grant the balance on the Fund at 31 March 2015 was £20.9 billion, a decrease of

£2.3 billion, when compared to prior year closing balance of £23.2 billion.'

Rob the fund was topped up last year by £4.6 billion and George your link is a year out of date. The fund was at £20.9 Billion March 2015 and in January 2016 it is £19.1 Billion.

The next time you here about the NI rate being cut or abolished just think about how safe your state pension really is!

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Pat Strong

Feb 10, 2016 at 12:02

Thanks all for all the useful information and links. Much appreciated.

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RobtheFox

Feb 10, 2016 at 13:24

But the top up was not to stop the balance in the fund going into deficit but to simply be there as part of the recommended reserve of one sixth of the annual expenditure and, as I have said previously, the GAD forecasts of the surplus increasing once again are already being realised.

You suggested that I and others did not get the point. Havıng been involved with the frozen pension issue for over ten years I am more than aware of the implications of the theories you choose to promote, but I prefer to deal with facts rather than conjecture.

And, as Jane Davies said in the very first comment on this thread (which is actually concerning the treatment afforded by some to the Minister, by the way!), the simple fact is that 4% of UK pensioners overseas are frozen and, whatever the future may hold for the pension system, the aim is that parity for them wıth the remaining 96% will be achieved and the discrimination abolished.

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Chris Powell

Feb 10, 2016 at 13:39

I have given up on the X pats and the moaning women- everyone will have their own opinion.

My point is that NI is a tax which has to be spent on pensions. Rob are you disagreeing with me that a government could reduce NI contributions and could at some stage in the future reduce or freeze the state pension. There is nothing in law to stop it is there? Please, give answer to this, your first point I have already agreed with and is irrelevant to my point that a government could reduce the state pension in the future to pay for schools. This demonstrates NI is a tax.

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Dennis .

Feb 10, 2016 at 13:53

How do I unsubscribe from this forum?

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RobtheFox

Feb 10, 2016 at 14:04

NI is not a tax. It ıs a contrıbutoery scheme as it can be paid voluntarily and is frequently done by people who are living and working overseas and by some who are non-employed and who all wish to protect their pension. I know of no tax ın the Uk that one can voluntarlıy pay.

The level of NI contribution has always been set by the government of the day, progressing from a set £sd amount each week for everyone to a percentage contribution from salary or a set £p for those categories I have mentioned; unlike paying tax there is no obligation except when working in the UK.

Yes, the government could freeze the State Pension provided, of course, that they meet the requirement to monıtor and ensure that it is adjusted periodically to meet increases in the cost of living within the UK shores...a requirement that predates even the 1946 Act.

A small percentage of the NI contrıbutions is used to part fund the NHS and the remainder becomes the ring fenced NI Fund from which state retirement pensions are paid as well as some benefits and allowances coming under the act.

You may wish to give up on expats and their frozen pensions - your choice.

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Chris Powell

Feb 10, 2016 at 14:05

I am now in favour of cutting the employee's NI rate. This will mean that the NI fund never needs to go above the recommended buffer (1/6th or 2 months of the yearly state pension benefit).

The state pension should only be paid if the nation can afford it.

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Pat Strong

Feb 10, 2016 at 14:05

Dennis, when you reply to thank me for this information - before clicking 'post reply' there is a box which says email me when someone comments on this story - very east I cluck the box and hey presto, you never again have to contribute/hear from a forum where no-one listens to you. Goodbye!

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RobtheFox

Feb 10, 2016 at 14:22

I have no qualms about cutting the employee's rate. However, how thiıs guarantees that expenditure on all the claims made agaınst the fund will never exceed ıncome and eat into that buffer I fail to see.

I also agree that the State Retirement Pension should only be paid if the nation can afford it provıded, of course, all pensioners are treated equally, fairly, and justly wherever in the world they reside.

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Dennis .

Feb 10, 2016 at 14:45

Pat, thanks for that, I have unticked the box several times and I keep getting the emails. Is this some form of penance? Anyway off to the coffee shop to spend some more of my pensions. (note the plural)

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Sinic

Feb 14, 2016 at 12:05

Of course men should get their pensions earlier than women, simply because their life expectancy is shorter. It is blatantly unjust that men who have paid their NI just like their female counterparts should on average receive less over their retirement because they die at an earlier age.

These waspish women are quite happy for men to have to wait years longer for their pensions and then to receive it for years less. Shame on you women! Equality for men!!!

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horshamtim

Feb 15, 2016 at 10:30

At the risk of joining this "party" late - I am with Chris Powell. It does not matter how often RobtheFox and others repeat their views, they are still largely wrong.

1. NI is a payroll tax, and it is taken into account as such each year in the Government's budget. It funds a range of things including pensions, other benefits and the NHS.

2. There is no unlawful discrimination involved - this point has already been decided through the courts.

3. Pensioners' financial contributions via NI are not related to the benefit they finally receive - even at the current rates of NI contributions (they used to be much lower) the SRP of most of the population is in effect subsidised.

4. There is no contract of any form- as a retired lawyer this line just has no basis whatsoever.

5. Even with the current levels of immigration the existing financial model for SRP is unsustainable due to the falling ratio of current workers to pensioners.

6. In the current state of the UK finances, paying all expats the full amount would cost about an extra £500m a year. This can only come out of increased taxation or further cuts to our services. Personally I would prefer this money went on things like stopping pensioners living here from continuing to die of hypothermia.

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James Tilley

Feb 15, 2016 at 12:36

Horshamtim.

The NI is used primarily >90% to pay the State pension and the account now has a balance approaching £30 billion. The Parliamentary Pension Committee was itself of the view in 1996 /7 that the policy was embarrassing and unacceptable and I quote from the conclusion to their report ;-

“Britain was alone among the OECD countries in discriminating between pensioners in different overseas countries, rejecting any suggestion of compromise”. From the same report it continues, “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… A simple change in British law could enable up-ratings to be paid in any or all overseas countries, provided the political will was there to do so"

Any political at that time will went missing AWOL.

Yes we lost on a legal technicality at the ECHR, but only because of "the arcane subtleties of the UK's discrimination law".

Moreover the Royal Commonwealth Charter, of which is now appears the UK takes no notice, claims the Commonwealth, "we", are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination".

For that reason I am promoting that Britain should be suspended from its Commonwealth until it adheres to the ethics, principles and values of which it espouses and lectures the world.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/pensions/10251775/Suspend-Britain-from-Commonwealth-over-unfair-expat-pensions.html

Please sir dismount from your elevated steed.

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horshamtim

Feb 15, 2016 at 13:13

I realise that this is one of the subjects that tends to bring out the trolls - people who have a vested self interest in wanting to spend other people's money and who will brook no argument.

For most of its history the NI fund has not even been able to pay for pensions, and has had to be topped up from general taxation. This is expected to become necessary again due to the demographics - unless pensioners also become liable for NI.

I am not on a steed of any form, and I notice you have not even tried to rebut the points that this campaign wants hard-pressed people of working age in the UK to fund expats' pensions by even more, to their own detriment. It is quite reasonable for me and others like me to state that this is not a priority in the current climate.

Be careful what you wish for - the situation could be resolved by freezing all expats pensions, and if we leave the EU that becomes more feasible. There is no clear legal basis for arguing that any pension should be paid to expats - other benefits are limited to 3 months or so away.

Discrimination is a neutral word - every time we choose one thing over another it is an act of discrimination, the trick is to make such choices on lawful and reasonable grounds.

To get biblical - cast out the beam in your own eye before seeking to cast out the mote in your brother's!

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RobtheFox

Feb 15, 2016 at 13:38

Horshantim - Jim Tilley has put you wise on your earlier comment so I will confine mine to this latest one.

The NI is not a tax as it is contributory which are mandatory when working but can be made voluntarıiy as some who are unemployed do and, of course, many work,ng overseas do so in order to protect their UK pension rights.

The NI Fund may have had some fınancıal support in recent months to maintain the recommended holding of a minımum of one sixth of the annual expenditure but it has never gone into deficit and, as Jim Tilley has advised it is back in an increasing surplus situation - £19 billion as of 29th January 2016 and it has not required topping up in the last two decades.

This campaign wants the hard pressed frozen pensioners to be treated equally, fairly and justly by the UK government; this is not a claim for extra money just parity wıth the other 96% of UK pensioners.

We are not trolls and do not shy away from those with contrary views but educating them on the iniquity of the frozen pension polıcy can, at times, be boringly frustrating.

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Sinic

Feb 15, 2016 at 14:17

It strikes me as far easier to morally justify establishing parity regarding the state retirement pension between ex-pats and UK residents (always assuming the ex-pats paid sufficient UK NI contributions to qualify) than it does to try to justify that women should continue to receive the state retirement five or so years earlier than men. That is social injustice! Just because the law states a position does not make it morally right nor representative of common sense or fair play; a sound concept from the past! As one who has a healthy contempt for much of our legislation I fall back on that well known quote ' Then the law is an ass!' from I imagine some colourful Dickensian character, but a valid observation nonetheless!

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horshamtim

Feb 15, 2016 at 14:40

RobtheFox - Jim Willey did not say anything of particular relevance and certainly nothing to convince anyone of a vaguely independent position.

Of course NI is a tax, and certainly the Government and HMRC believe it is. Try not paying it when you are legally required to do so!

And of course it is a claim for extra money - who do you think is going to pay for the additional cost other than the UK based taxpayers and workers? Such a payment will be of no benefit to those who have to pay for it. I take the view that most pensioners and other voters in this country would opt to spend the money needed on vital UK services rather than deal with this anomaly.

Before you comment further you should make it clear whether you or any of you family stand to gain from such a change in policy - as should anybody else using this and other sites trying to press the issue. Are you a high-minded altruist or a self-interested money-grubber wanting all of us in the UK to pay for your bigger pension.

If the answer is yes, do you/they actually need this increase to fund your/their lifestyle, and why you expect it to be paid for by low-income workers in the UK struggling to bring up their families.

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James Tilley

Feb 16, 2016 at 11:19

Dear Horshamtim [you are obviously from the favoured, pastoral Tory SE of England where all is rosy, while in contrast north of a line from Bristol to Hull things are a lot different and folk up there more reasonable and understanding. View this video http://youtu.be/u7nnhE48xvw and then read on ]

I'll leave you with this comment from Hansard and from your past pension minister who made such a hash of the changes to the UK's pension policy supposedly designed simplify the UK's pension scheme.

"The consequences of not up-rating can be quite severe" ...."The British Government are free riding on the welfare states of countries that British citizens are moving to" ...

"We are asking other countries taxpayers to support our pensioners"... "The composition of the list of countries where one does have up-rating and the list of those where one does not is pretty odd".... "It hard to understand the logic"....

"The entire pattern was arbitrary." "There is no logic to it and it is hard to justify the situation we are in."

"The question relates to cost but sorting out unfairness does have a cost"......

We are not feathering the nest of the favoured few, but justice" ....The question is moral rather than legal ..."The moral claim rests on the fact that we have a contributory pension system .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?"....

That doesn't sit well with the idea of a contributory system"

I rest my case.

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 11:30

Well said James. Nothing further that needs to be said really. Thank you.

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 11:31

Ps I an not a victim of this particular injustice, but an impartial, objective and reasoned observer.

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James Tilley

Feb 16, 2016 at 12:27

Thanks Pat, I hope you viewed the video, for it puts this appalling British pension policy into perspective.

Also please read this article http://www.theguardian.com/money/2012/may/08/state-pension-frozen

It's probably from a newspaper which "Horshamtim" would not have in his house!.

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 12:35

Hmm, you just may be right James. Thanks for the resources, will have a look.

Pat

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 12:43

By the way, I'm from the SE of England, but wherever you live, fairness and justice should prevail.

From the article mentioned above:

"The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), which last month launched a Pension Justice website to highlight its cause, says cases like this demonstrate why it is wrong to suggest that these individuals are somehow at fault for "choosing" to live abroad in a country where the UK basic state pension is not increased in line with inflation. "Such decisions aren't always straightforward. Many pensioners were originally posted abroad with British companies, the diplomatic service, the armed forces etc, or left to be closer to children or grandchildren. Life can take us in unexpected directions – and it's wrong for some people to be penalised for it, while others are not," the group says. "

An important and valid point,

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Sinic

Feb 16, 2016 at 13:52

Although a Tory from what James Tilney seems to think is the 'Promised Land' I nevertheless agree entirely that the state pension treatment of ex-pats is at the least as socially unjust, as women receiving their state retirement pensions some five years or so earlier than men. At least this latter injustice is being addressed.

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George Morley

Feb 16, 2016 at 15:33

Rediculous comment by horshamtin !

Of course NI is a tax, and certainly the Government and HMRC believe it is. Try not paying it when you are legally required to do so!

And of course it is a claim for extra money -

>>

You don't pay it individually like making a tax return as it is taken at source by the employer and it is a contribution not a tax and all references to the state pension deal with the fact that your pension is determined by your contributions - so let's get that right.

As the pension is determined by your contributions so the pension received should be the same for all whose contributions are the same without exception and the frozen pensioners being denied any annual increases are asking for equality and the same treatment of uprating and not extra money as you say making out that it is cash in addition to the pension.

It is the pension that we ask for in the same way as the majority receive.

>>

We get so many people like yourself who really have no understanding of the issue but are just trouble makers twisting the truth.

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Chris Powell

Feb 16, 2016 at 15:38

I wonder what the great Australian' do for their X pat's age related pension . I read some where that you have to move back to Australia for 2 years before you can claim and that it is means tested. Does anyone know what the countries we don't allow indexation actual do for their X pats? Or are they so perfect that us Brits should be ashamed!

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Jane Davies

Feb 16, 2016 at 15:56

All expat Canadians receive their state pensions plus indexing wherever they live in the world and the UK is alone in treating it's seniors in this way.

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Chris Powell

Feb 16, 2016 at 16:02

Jane are you sure about Australia!

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Jane Davies

Feb 16, 2016 at 16:22

Australia pays their expats too......the UK is the only Commonwealth country with a state pension scheme to freeze some expats just because of where they happen to live.

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Chris Powell

Feb 16, 2016 at 16:33

When I started work I paid self-employed NI and thought I would get the state pension at 65. It will now be 68. The state pension is a benefit which is paid from the working people of today. There was, is and will never be a contract, state pension will and can be changed at anytime and you pay it like a tax and it gets spent like one and anyone who thinks any different in my opinion is wrong. A government could increase the pension age, introduce means tested pension through law if they wanted to if the finances deserved it. NI contributions could be abolished and other taxes in creased whilst keeping the 1/6th buffer fund.

The Women don't have case in fact they should be grateful they have had 5 years extra. This is what the initial article was about. X-pats in some cases might have an issue but let's claim the money from the women who had their pension 5 years too early first. That is still the greatest injustice.

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Jane Davies

Feb 16, 2016 at 16:55

I think their objection was the lack of information from the DWP, not the fact that they now receive their pension at the same age as men. Personally I have never understood why there was a difference in age, but as usual the DWP have made a complete Horlicks in handling it.

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George Morley

Feb 16, 2016 at 17:20

Chris Powell, your opinion is fine for you to make as is anybody else's., but that does not make it anything other than an opinion which is not necessarily a fact.

The state pension is an entitlement due to the payment of contributions to the NI Fund and is not a benefit freebie given out with no mandatory commitment made to the person receiving it like that of the state pension.

Even Steve Webb acknowledged this.

The difference between the WASPI campaign and that of the Frozen Pensioners is that theirs is an adjustment to the timescale whereas the Frozen pension issue is discrimination and both have an element of inequality

Some of the women will be affected by both issues.

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RobtheFox

Feb 16, 2016 at 18:30

I haven't been able to come back and add to this discussion sooner but I see that Jim Tilley (not Jim Willey or even Jim Tilney!), together with Pat Strong, George Morley and Jane Davies have more than covered the ground in correcting a few myths and misinformation about the UK National Insurance System and Frozen Pensions.

I will pıck up on something that does not appear to have been addressed, however

.

Horshamtim you saiıd,

".......you should make it clear whether you or any of your family stand to gain from such a change in policy as should anybody else using this or any other site trying to press the issue".

To which I reply " Why? The answer has no relevance to or bearing on the resolution of the issue".

You further ask "If the answer is yes do they actually need the money to fund their lifestyle.....?"

And the answer I gave to your first question also applies to this one.

As regards "self interested money grabbers" I suggest that you ask Annie Carr. She is 104 years old and the full pension she retired on was £6.75 per week....and this is still what she gets....money grabber?

Oh, as a point of interest my pension use to be frozen but I have moved to an unfrozen country - not the UK - but I appreciated the iniquity of the policy and now campaign on principle - not that it is any of your damn business.

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 18:36

Robthefox, great contribution! Thank you.

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Dennis .

Feb 16, 2016 at 18:55

I have tried several times to unsubscribe from this forum but the emails about your pointless ranting about inequality still keep coming. You may have a case but you won't win it by complaining here.

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RobtheFox

Feb 16, 2016 at 19:05

I learned at school never debunk anything unless you have a viable alternative so where will we win our case Dennis?

If you don't want further emails on this then you should be able to unsubscribe by clicking on and removing the "tick" in the box below.

Possibly some help or a contact address in the FAQs?

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George Morley

Feb 16, 2016 at 19:33

Dennis, Our pointless ranting that you mention has put the record straight for a number of those like you who really have no idea of what is at stake and why we are commenting here and elsewhere when totally irrelevant things like private schools are mentioned, you do yourself no favours.

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Pat Strong

Feb 16, 2016 at 19:45

100% agree George.

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James Tilley

Feb 16, 2016 at 21:53

Perhaps some of those so critical of our arguments will reflect on this considered article from the Sunday Times http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/business/money/pensions/article1497998.ece .I believe it demonstrates the frozen pension issue does not only impact on those of us regarded as "trolls wanting to spend other peoples' money " by one from the critical masses.

Visit too this list of news articles from the London Telegraph www.telegraph.co.uk/frozenpensions/ and these from current UK MP's http://www.theguardian.com/money/2015/aug/15/keith-vaz-frozen-pensions#comment-57557177 http://theasiantoday.com/article.aspx?articleId=4699.

The current frozen pension policy is blatant discrimination http://www.maturetimes.co.uk/join-fight-end-pension-discrimination/

It is a policy designed to thoughtlessly save a few quid, without total consideration of the possible adverse impact of the policy on other areas of the UK's overall budget..

I have many more articles to demonstrate the foolishness of this thoughtless policy, all from the UK's quality press.viz;- http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/money/article4104695.ece

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