Anne Puckridge, 96, plotted the movements of aircraft and warships as an intelligence officer in the Second World War. But she became a victim of a controversial policy when she moved to Canada to be near family at the age of 76.
Britain refuses to uprate pensions for citizens who live abroad – even if they have paid National Insurance contributions all their lives – unless the host country has struck an agreement with the UK.
This means Mrs Puckridge receives just £72.50 a week in contrast with the £175.20 weekly rate for pensioners in the UK.
However, hopes for a breakthrough have soared now Canada has asked to negotiate a “reciprocal social security agreement covering the uprating of pensions”.
Mrs Puckridge, who served with the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, Women’s Royal Naval Service and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, said: “It is great news that Canada has asked for a reciprocal deal that would end the injustice leaving me on a UK state pension of just £72.50 a week. I urge the UK Government to use this opportunity to end the immoral and indefensible frozen pension policy for UK pensioners in Canada and the hundreds of thousands of other ‘frozen’ pensioners, irrelevant of where they live.
“As a veteran of all three Armed Forces, the frozen pensions policy has left me ashamed to be British. The Canadian Government has provided an opportunity for the UK Government to end a historic wrong.
“They must take it and restore the faith of all the pensioners who feel forgotten by their own country.”
Sir Roger Gale, a Conservative MP who chairs a cross-party group dedicated to securing justice for pensioners in the same situation as Mrs Puckridge, said: “This shameful policy has been allowed to continue for far too long. It is cruel and unjust to deny to half a million UK pensioners overseas the full UK state pension that they paid into during their working lives.
“Canada has offered a potential route to ending this injustice. The UK should welcome this opportunity to right a historic wrong and ensure every pensioner receives the full state pension they are morally entitled to regardless of where they live”.
Andrew Rosindell, a fellow Tory MP who chairs the all-party group on Canada, said: “I’m pleased the Canadian Government has requested a reciprocal agreement to end the injustice for more than 150,000 UK pensioners living in Canada.
“The UK and Canada are both Commonwealth countries with deep historic and cultural connections. At a time when we should be nurturing these connections, it is absurd UK pensioners experience an economic hit by moving there.”
A spokesman for the End Frozen Pensions campaign said: “It is now abundantly clear that not only does this unfair policy plunge British pensioners into poverty but is also damaging vital future relationships – relationships that will be crucial to the Government’s Global Britain ambitions.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “We continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so and will respond to these representations in due course.”
— to www.express.co.uk