Updates about the pre-1975 service pensions injustice
This page is for updates about the veterans' pension grievance described in our article: The 'Pre-1975 service pensions injustice'.
Update 2/2018: Petition: Equal pension rights for Veterans of Her Majesty's Forces serving before 1975
There is an active petition running:
- 38° petition: Equal pension rights for Veterans of Her Majesty's Forces serving before 1975
- related Facebook Group: We For Veterans - "We welcome all Veterans who support our efforts to get full pension rights for those who served before 1975."
Another link which may be of interest if this affects you:
Update 1/2018: Persistent confusions about "Advisory Committee on Recruiting under the Chairmanship of Sir James Grigg"
One of twelve recommendations by the Grigg Committee (1958) would have benefited pre-1975 armed forces "early leavers" who took up later employment in the Civil Service:
but the Government never accepted that recommendation.
If it had been accepted it would have needed legislation, as well as financial provision. Also, it wouldn't have helped pre-1975 early leavers who didn't take up subsequent employment with the Civil Service.
The other eleven Grigg Committee recommendations were accepted and duly implemented, but had nothing to do with so-called early leavers.
More (long story) at Updates 2/2013 and 3/2012 below. If campaigners were interested in researching these questions, a quick online search shows that several files relating to the Grigg Committee recommendations are held by the National Archives at Kew, such as:
- Recruitment: action on recommendation XII of Grigg Committee
- Independent Committee on Factors affecting Recruitment in the Armed Forces (Grigg...
This might also have been worth a look:
Historical footnote: Sir James Grigg, who chaired that "Advisory Committee on Recruiting", is the subject of a chapter in FM Montgomery's The Path to Leadership (1961). "PJ" Grigg lost his own Civil Service pension rights on acceding to Churchill's request to leave the top official post in the War Office to become its political head, as Secretary of State for War (1942-45).
Montgomery says that Grigg "proved to be the best Secretary of State for War we have ever had in the army within my personal experience"; and that "deceit of any kind" was one of the two faults which Grigg would never forgive.
Update 4/2015: Armed Forces Pension Group (AFPG) developments
The Armed Forces Pension Group has now confirmed the decision, after postal consultation with its membership, to wind up and to make substantial donations to service charities. The group's Final Meeting will be held on Thursday, 3rd September 2015 - full details at the AFPG website. As with the EfVA which has also decided to wind up for similar reasons (see update 3/2015 below), BAFF's best wishes go to all concerned.
An ex-service group which says it is still campaigning about the 'Pre-1975 service pensions injustice' is "Combined Armed Forces Federation" - "CAFFUK" - no connection with BAFF, which doesn't campaign about that issue.
Update 3/2015: Equality for Veterans Association (EfVA) developments
EfVA members should see their association's website for details of their Extraordinary General Meeting to be held on 9th August, 2015. Further update 10th August: it has been announced on the EfVA website that the meeting agreed that the EfVA be wound up as being unable to meet its principal objective, and that any funds held after winding-up costs be donated to SSAFA. Our best wishes go to all concerned.
Update 2/2015: Ministerial reply to EfVA suggestion of a one-off ex gratia payment
Following the Westminster Hall debate on 16th March 2015, Katy Clark MP wrote to Anna Soubry MP, Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, to seek the MoD's response to the EfVA's suggestion of a one-off ex-gratia payment to the affected veterans corresponding to £1000 for each unpensioned year of service. The Minister's negative reply can be seen at the EfVA website.
Update 1/2015: MPs debate Pre-1975 armed forces pensions
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. 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.
UPDATE: view or read the debate here:
Update 2/2013: 'Grigg Recommendation XII' revisited: 'CAFFUK' letters to HM The Queen
It has emerged (May 2013) that campaigners have been sending increasingly peremptory correspondence to HM The Queen, citing "Grigg Recommendation XII". (See update 3/2012 for Grigg background.)
Campaigners' letter of 22 April referred the Sovereign to their website, and "since the above was first brought to your attention many months ago now as urgent" requested Her Majesty's reply "by June 1st 2013 at the very latest".
In an attempt to show that "Recommendation XII" had legal force, campaigners apparently sent the Queen what they called an
"extract from the Armed Forces Pension Scheme which on Page 4 specifically states:
Parliamentary Command 945 is a prerogative instrument. The Scheme rules are set out in "Prerogative Instruments" that derive their authority from Her Majesty The Queen and are not subject to the approval, annulment or amendment by Parliament. For the Royal Navy and Royal Marines ..."
Their quote looks quite official at first glance, but on closer inspection doesn't even read like a coherent paragraph. Part of it is from a parliament library briefing - not from an "Armed Forces Pension Scheme" at all; and the controversial first sentence has been "added" by an unknown hand.
The true, non-legislative, status of those Government publications known as "Command Papers" is not difficult to check. Command Papers are technically presented to Parliament by Royal Command, but their contents are not commands.
Command Papers "Cmnd 945 Service Pay and Pensions" (Feb 1960) and "Cmnd 675 Armed Forces Pensions" (Feb 1959) were not pension warrants, and simply reported the outcomes of pay and pensions reviews. Neither of them said anything about Grigg Recommendation XII.
According to their website, the letters in question were on behalf of "Combined Armed Forces Federation UK" (CAFFUK / CAFF UK) pre-1975 pension campaigners. A ministerial letter published on the same website appears to have already explained the status of Command Papers to campaigners before they wrote to HM The Queen.
We would like to make it clear that what have been described as "barrack-room lawyer" and "sea-lawyer" letters to Her Majesty have no connection with BAFF (British Armed Forces Federation), or with either of the following active groups which (unlike BAFF) campaign about the pre-1975 service pensions injustice:
- Equality for Veterans Association (EfVA)
- Armed Forces Pension Group (AFPG)
Update 1/2013: HM Government e-petition
A petition in support of the pre-1975 veterans' pension campaign has been launched on the Government's official e-petition website by EfVA Secretary Mike Smith. Anyone who would like to support this online petition is urged to sign it as soon as possible at this link:
Update 3/2012: Recommendation by the Grigg Advisory Committee on Recruiting (1958)
In December 1957 an independent committee headed by Sir James Grigg was appointed to look into factors affecting armed forces recruitment after the phasing out of National Service. During its consideration of resettlement issues, the Committee "gave some thought to" a suggestion that service pension rights be made transferable into civilian employment. It decided not to recommend such a course in advance of a general reform of pension legislation.
The Grigg Committee did, however, make a more limited recommendation - "Recommendation XII" (Recommendation 12) - that an ex-regular taking up an established job in Government employment should have the option of counting service in the Forces as if it was non-established service for the purpose of Civil Service superannuation. The Advisory Committee's recommendation was precisely that: a recommendation to Government, but not, as claimed by some, a Government "intention", "decision", or "requirement".
Significantly, the Committee noted that if the Government accepted the recommendation, it would require legislation.
While some campaigners have been continuing to cite Government 'Command Papers' (mistakenly described as "Prerogative instruments" and "Orders in Council") flowing from acceptance of the Grigg Committee's other recommendations, and say that they have written again to HM The Queen on this subject, we have yet to see genuine evidence that the Government of the day ever accepted Recommendation XII.
The Report of Sir James Grigg's Advisory Committee on Recruiting (Command 545 / "Cmnd 545") was published in October 1958. In its response the following month ("Cmnd 570") the Government accepted many of the Committee's recommendations, notably a new formula for pay reviews. As for Recommendation XII, the Government responded only that "This recommendation is being studied":
It was pointed out in a House of Commons debate of 3 March 1959 that a response to Recommendation XII was still awaited, but Ministers did not respond. The Grigg Committee's failure to make a general recommendation "that once a man joins Her Majesty's Forces his pension rights become continuous" was raised in a House of Lords debate of 15 December 1958, but the Minister did not reply on that point either. The same party continued in Government until October 1964.
If a representative armed forces federation had existed at the time, the issue would never have been allowed to be swept under the carpet in this way.
Fifty-plus years later, veterans should have been able to make some use, as part of a reasoned, researched case, of the failure of the Government of the day ever to announce a decision on Grigg Recommendation XII.
Unfortunately that line of argument is not helped by mistaken claims that the Recommendation was given force by some kind of Royal Command, or somehow included, without actually being mentioned, in the Government's implementation of the Grigg Committee's 11 other recommendations.
Update 2/2012: Recommendation to BAFF pre-1975 veteran Members
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Update 1/2012: Royal British Legion asked to approach HM Government
From The Royal British Legion's Annual Conference in March 2012:
Delegates agreed to urge TRBL to approach HM Government to grant pension rights for regular ex-Service personnel who were discharged before 5 April 1975. It was felt that the majority of people who will be assisted are OAPs.
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