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AFPG LIMITED

The Mathom House

9 Broadmead Green

Thorpe End

Norwich.

NR13 5DE


Did You Know and are we and the Government?



“Morally Right or Morally Wrong?”

You decide!

In the opinion of the writer the question is rhetorical. The circumstances are absolutely true except that the names of the individual and dates of birth have been withheld. If, having read that which follows you agree with me, please do write to your MP, to your local paper and/or National Paper. Get your children and your grandchildren to do likewise.

John was born in February 1945. James was born in April 1945. In January 1962 each joined the RAF as an Apprentice. The Apprenticeship was for 3 years training and a commitment to serve for a minimum period of 12 years, measurable from the age of 18, until they attained the age of 30.

John and James had never met before but for the next 3 years they were to share the same billet with 17 other apprentices who ‘enlisted’ on the same day. In December 1964, at the completion of their training, with the rank of Junior Technician, they went their separate ways. Over the next 12 years plus they served at home and overseas – the latter in areas of conflict where the interests of the United Kingdom were being protected. Before they reached the age of 30 they had each attained the rank of sergeant. They were not to meet again until December 2004 at the age of 59. The occasion was a reunion for their intake to mark the 40th anniversary of their graduation (completion of training).

During the evening James remarked that he was looking forward to retiring when he reached 60. To this John replied “You must have a better job than I have. With my arthritis and need for a hip replacement I would love to give-up the daily slog”. John’s response was – “But next February, when you are 60, you will get your preserved pension in recognition of your 12 years service, - I have already received advice of mine and have been told I will getting £5,500 per year, taxable, of course, but it is inflation linked”.

First I’ve heard of it” replied John “I’ll have to check-up on this, it would make one hell of a difference for me and the missus. Actually, between you and me, I haven’t done so well since leaving the RAF and currently we have to rely on Housing Benefit. We’d probably lose the benefit but we’d still be better off”.

In a nutshell, the following week John contacted the MoD about his pension. The response was quite terse. I paraphrase –

“Due to the introductions of the 1973 Pensions Act which, by the Act, had to be implemented by employers by April 1975, all persons serving on the 1st April 1975 and who had completed a minimum of 7 years service with the Armed Forces became entitled to a pension. Prior to the Act it was requirement that non-commissioned personnel completed 22 years service. Your service ended before the Act was implemented. We are unable to comment on other persons but it would appear that whilst you joined up on the same day of your friend as his birthday was in April and he completed his engagement in that month he would have been eligible under the Act.”

Since John learned about the disparity between him and his erstwhile colleague he has learned that he is not alone. Many have contacted their respective MP. In each case the MoD response has been the same. Indeed they now have a standard response. Uncaring, intransigent, full of obfuscation and downright misleading. John also learned of one other, since deceased, who completed 19 years and who, having left before April 1975, did not receive a pension in recognition of his service with the Armed Forces.

In the opinion of The Armed Forces Pension Group Limited (AFPG) – A  not-for-profit organisation which has been campaigning for many years for the perceived wrong to be remedied – the situation is wholly iniquitous. AFPG is aware that retrospective remedial action would be costly to the taxpayer but it can see no reason why there should not be amending legislation to introduce the pension rights for those still living. The MoD and HM Treasury have advised Ministers of State that it would be complex and cost billions. It would open the flood gates to all public servants. Not so. Research has been carried out that shows the cost would decline rapidly as the ‘grim reaper’ swings his scythe. In addition it should be noted that Armed Forces personnel were, like Civil Servants, termed Crown Servants. Unlike other Public Servants, Crown Servants were members of a non-contributory pension scheme but there the similarity differs. Civil Servants had far less onerous requirements in order to receive a pension and the calculation of the value of the pension for Civil Servants was more generous than even for those in the Armed Forces who completed 22 years.

If you do agree – work with AFPG to get this wrong put right. Thus far both the present Prime Minister and his predecessors at No 10 have declined to do anything whatsoever. He and ‘they’ are quick to comment on matters international which are shameful, they apologise for events even 100 years ago but when it comes to veterans it will always be ‘better for those who become veterans tomorrow’ but not for the veteran of today.


Have you decided, is the government and the mandarins in Whitehall “Morally Right or Morally Wrong?”


If, having read the above you agree with me that it is wrong, please do write to your MP, to your local paper and/or National Paper. Get your children and your grandchildren to do likewise.



We Need Your Help please


Please, is there any member of AFPG or EfVA or BAFF or CAFFUK who has a relative or friend who served before 1975 and was then over the age of 18 and who went on to serve, for less than 22 years, beyond April 1975 and who is in receipt of a pension from his/her service days. More important is the need for AFPG / EfVA / BAFF / CAFFUK to know the basic detail - persons anonymised if required - where such pension was then transferred to another organisation such as police, fire service, local authority etc. The important of this last requirement is that where such a transfer is made then the value of the ‘annuity - for such it is’ can be defined and the approximate annual accrual to the fund calculated.


If anyone can help with information can you either: email it to info@afpg.info or write to Nigel Lodge at the address above.





Your Campaign Needs You!!

We also need your Children and your Grandchildren


We have asked you all many times as our members, to write to your local MP and others requesting their support for our just cause. We are all getting a bit old in the tooth for that even though some of us are still able; so why don’t you ask your children, and even your Grandchildren to write to their MP asking for their support in obtaining our just, equitable and non-discriminatory “Forces Pension” which has been denied us for so long.



Please Consider if you can help AFPG.


Please consider if you can help by giving your time.

Parliament 2010 is a good place to start. Making your MP aware of the issues. Discussing the MoD’s so inaccurate response is the real starting point. Phrases like in these days of financial constraints “we can’t deal with legacy issues” are a cop out. We must however be realistic. No Government is going to say ‘because you have been treated wrongly we will pay pensions back to the date when you should have qualified’. We should be explaining that we want payment from NOW. Similarly we should be considering what we mean by Equality. As the ‘card’ that we produced at the AGM states “Equality with whom, with what”. We cannot expect Equality with those leaving the service today. We want Equality with our contemporaries. We want to be treated no less than the Civil Servants who are the ONLY other Crown employees and the only other group whose pension is non-contributory, albeit like our pay, subject to undefined abatement to take into consideration the non-contributory nature of the pension.

Please work on your MP. To date I have received letters from 42 MP's. So far follow-up letters have resulted in continuing correspondence with 10 of them. In several instances the MP has asked for details of constituents who are affected by the in-Equality. It would be helpful to know that we have that permission without our having to phone or write to get permission to release that data. Once again – thank you for your continuing support. Please continue to do so. Please let us know, so we can tell others, about your successes – or failures with your MP.

Nigel H Lodge Director,

AFPG Limited


STATEMENT OF INTENT

Our aim is to secure equality of pensions for former regular members of the Armed Forces who served for fewer than 22 years at any time to April 1975 and who were discharged before 5th April 1975. This also applies to those regulars who were discharged prior to 1981 who do not meet the criteria of length of service and age.  We ask Her Majesty's Government for pension rights based on years of service and related, pro rata, to pensions received by contemporaries who completed 22 years of service..


MEMBERSHIP

Membership of the Armed Forces Pension Group is open to all ex-servicemen and women who meet the criteria in our Statement of Intent. Supporters of the aims of AFPG may also apply for membership. To apply, forward your full name and address to The Membership Secretary, AFPG Ltd, 72 Appleton Road, Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, NG21 0SQ or download an application form.



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