Campaign in East Anglia over veterans’ pensions
A campaign to help armed forces veterans who have missed out on pensions is gathering momentum in Norfolk.
The Equality for Veterans Association wants the government to award ex-regular service veterans who served in the forces between 1949 and 1975 a full pro-rata pension.
Regular veterans who served from April 1975 onwards receive a pro-rata pension according to their service over a minimum of two years, whereas those who served their country in the period 1949 to March 1975 receive nothing unless they served more than 22 years.
Peter Loader, the regional organiser for Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, said many veterans were not allowed to sign up again to reach their 22 years, and that no one was told about the new pension changes that would apply after April 1975.
Mr Loader, from Fleggburgh, joined the Royal Navy in 1959 and left as a newly-wed in July 1974, less than a year before the new pension rules came in.
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He said: 'All throughout our period of service, our pay was reduced to take into account any future pension we might get and we weren't permitted to join a private pension scheme.
'I get the state pension and the employment pension from jobs I did since I came out of the Navy, but nothing from that time in the Navy. Had I known they were going to change the pensions from the next year I almost certainly would have tried to stay in the Navy.
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'Equality for Veterans believes it was disgraceful that nobody told us anything about it.'
The association has also helped some veterans, who served after April 1975 and who were not aware they were entitled to a pro-rata pension, to make back-dated claims.
In one case, the association helped a veteran to claim �38,000, of which �17,000 was deducted as tax, and he now receives �316 monthly.
In January, the association's president Sir Bob Russell, who is MP for Colchester, together with 19 other members of parliament, formed an All Party Parliamentary Group on armed forces veterans' pensions. Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis is a member.
Mr Loader has been attending service-related organisations such as the Royal Naval Association, Royal Airforce Association, British Legion, and The Canal Zoners, recruiting new members and encouraging all members to lobby their MPs.
For more information about Equality for Veterans Association and its work, log on to www.efva.co.uk
To join, or for more information about the association's work in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire and Essex, email Mr Loader at firstname.lastname@example.org