Pension equality required for all ex-servicemen and women

I REFER to the article ‘Badges of honour on offer to veterans’ (News Guardian, February 3).

While organisations in this country pretend to be extremely proud of ex-personnel of our armed forces, there are very few who will support the campaign by the Armed Forces Pension Group (AFPG) to address the injustice that exists in the armed forces pension scheme.

The rule used to be that a person had to serve a full 22 years before being eligible to receive a service pension.

This rule was changed in April 1976 so that personnel discharged after this date could receive a pro rata pension if they had served at least two years.

Assume the case where two people sign for a nine-year engagement to do the same job in the same places.

One joins in 1965 the other in 1970.

At the end of their service one is entitled to a pension the other is not.

This is clearly unfair and there are many other such examples.

There are cases of men and women who served their country well for years in places like Malaya, Korea, Suez, Cyprus, Aden, Kenya, etc and do not qualify for a pension simply because of their discharge date.

The AFPG is saying the rule should now be changed again so that the same conditions apply to all of our ex-forces personnel.

An approximate amount of how much it would cost the government has been calculated by the AFPG, but this would be a decreasing sum as we are now in our 70s and 80s and are steadily dying off.

It would be a hollow claim to say we were aware of the rule when signing on.

So did all the others who signed just before the change, then found they qualified for the payment.

It is all very well pinning little badges to our lapel, and I am very proud to wear one, but equality with all ex-servicemen and women would be more greatly appreciated.

To all ex-forces personnel in receipt of a pension, I send by best wishes on a greatly deserved award.

MR F CLAYFORTH

Chiltern Road

North Shields