Pension campaigners Equality for Veterans Association (EfVA) have announced that Katy Clark MP has secured a Parliamentary debate on Veterans' Pensions. The debate, which will take place on Monday 16th March 2015 in Westminster Hall, will focus on veterans who left the armed forces prior to the introduction of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme in 1975. UPDATE: view or read the debate here:
Currently veterans who left the Armed Forces before April 5th, 1975, having served for fewer than 22 years, or 16 years if they were officers, receive no pension for their service.
It is estimated that there are around 250,000 surviving veterans who currently do not receive a pension. EfVA say that over 300,000 people have signed a petition established by them supporting the veterans' cause.
Katy Clark MP (Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran) said:
"We should all be extremely grateful for the contribution made to the United Kingdom by our armed forces. Sadly for far too long the sacrifices made by those who served before April 1975 has not been properly recognised by successive Governments. These veterans were prevented from enrolling in conventional pension schemes during their period of service and a large number were poorly informed about the implications of pensions' legislation in the early 1970s. Many decisions at that time about when to leave the armed services were therefore taken without all the available information to hand. Those who chose to retire shortly before April 1975 continue to feel the financial implication of their decision to this day.
"The Government's position appears to be it cannot change military pensions retrospectively as this could have potential implications across the public sector. Veterans have however always been treated differently by Government due to the Military Covenant which recognises the unique and often highly dangerous nature of military service. I believe if the Government is serious about honouring this covenant they should be looking to provide lasting financial recognition to pre-April 1975 veterans to honour their loyal service.This is an important issue for many of the veterans affected as they feel that their contribution has not be recognised and that they have been treated unfairly."
- Source: Equality for Veterans Association (EfVA) [broken link]
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