Suggested draft letter(s) for sending to an MP or Minister.

 

If any change is to happen in the rules affecting the Continental expatriate, it will happen ONLY by huge pressure of public opinion and bringing embarrassment to the Government.  Thousands of letters are needed to land in the mail boxes of the politicians. 

Please write a letter even if you think it inadequate; even if it is short – indeed the short letter from the heart is often the best.  Your contribution is desperately needed.

A list of signatures on a petition is almost futile and moreover hugely laborious to operate.   Many emotionally charged letters to people in power MAY achieve something. These people are as naked as us all beneath their clothes and stripped of their positions of office and most actually have emotions and feelings of public concern in their souls.  Pluck at their consciences.

IF ONE DOES NOTHING - NOTHING WILL BE DONE!

A letter costs 70 centimes and a little of your time; less than a cup of coffee (if you can afford one).  Is it not worth the trouble?

Here are some sample emotional letters as examples to modify:-                But also read some Readers Letters and comments (on link on the blog site) to get ideas.

Introduction -----Dear (xxxx xxxxxx  MP) (Mr. Darling) (Mr. King) (Mr. Brown) (Mr. Bryant) etc.  – see addresses on blog site

 

Letter 1.  I have been reading the Blog site [http://pensionersdebout.blogspot.com/] and I realise that I should write to you to tell you about my circumstances and ask for your help.

We came to France to enjoy the quiet culture and get away from the noise and bustle of Birmingham ( some other town), where we lived in a terraced house.  At that time in 1996 our income in Euro equivalent (it was Francs then) was about  20,000, derived from our State pensions and savings returns from interest in a British Bank..  Now today, it has declined to about 14,000.  The property taxes have risen, and the cost of food and the heating bills have rocketed and also they carry 19.6% VAT here in France.   We do not receive the Winter Fuel Payment, and the pound has fallen dreadfully.  We assumed that we would be reasonably comfortable in a united Europe.   We are no different from people of our own age and background in Britain.  We feel let down by our own Government.  Will you do something for us?

 

Letter2.  We are Old Age Pensioners.  We live in France.  The present collapse in the value of the £ is causing us great difficulties.  We came to France because we had supposed  that within the European Union we would  have stability of our income.  We sought no more than peace in our retirement and hardly expected that the British Government would so let us down.

What will you do to help us?  Yours sincerely.

 

Letter 3.  We came to France in 19xx….  when we were 66 (xx) years old.  We sold our house in England ( Wales .. town..) to buy a modest house here.  The extra money was put into savings to eke out our modest pensions.   My husband died in 2002..(xxxx).  He was a fireman and now I get half his pension.  I have less money now which is now fetching only two thirds in euros which it did last year.  I am desperately short of money.  I need help in the house and cannot afford it.  Because my half pension is taxed in the UK I cannot get the rebate which a French  widow can get and I have just too much basic income before tax from the UK to get the French support for the elderly.

The income from savings has also collapsed. 

Will you do something to help me?

 

Letter 4.   (to P.M.)  I am a British citizen and I need your help.  There are many like me.  I have no vote for anyone in the British Parliament because I left England (or  xxxxxx) more than 15 years ago.   Therefore I write to you for help.  I came to France after I was widowed  20 years ago.  I am now 85.  I came to live near my daughter who was already here.  For a while I had my own small cottage, living on the small pension which I received from 20 years of teaching.  I do not get the Winter Fuel Payment because I left the UK before it was introduced.  Now I cannot continue to support myself financially because of the fall in value of the £, and am trying to seek help from the French and finding it difficult to get this.  Why should the French help me, anyway?   I ask you to help, because all my working life was in Britain, teaching and bringing up a family.   At least give me the Winter Fuel Payment. My situation is desperate.

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The above are all imaginary letters, but based on some real situations.  If you are able to be more elaborate (or more sophisticated) then read on.

 

Posted letters are frankly better than emails.  However to email--- If the MP is named  A.N.Other -  Then the email address is normally of the form  otheran@parliament.uk.  But check the web site for your MP in the side panel of the blog site..  This will be the MP for the constituency where you were last resident.  You may well find another type of email address.  Moreover the MPs will not normally reply to an email from a post code outside their constituency.  So give your OLD UK postcode.  If you were NOT resident in the UK within the last 15 years then you have no entitlement to representation by an MP.

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In that case you will have to write (better anyway) to the Minister for Europe,  Caroline Flint or  The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling., or even the Prime Minister.  The Bank of England is responsible for the bank rate- so write to The Governor, Mervyn King.  Remember they are no more than ordinary people.  Do not be hesitant to write.

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BY POST   If you send a letter by post to any MP then the address is House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, Angleterre. Other addresses are on the blog site.

A posted letter is more likely to receive attention.

A very personal letter is best.  Almost certainly the reply will be bland and stupid.  But persevere.  In this ‘game’  numbers of correspondents are important.  It really is. 

 

Below are indications of matters you might include.  -  [variations are in brackets] :-

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To.  A.N. Other MP.

Dear A.N.Other

I was a resident in your constituency of  ……….. until I retired to France in ………..

[I am a retired pensioner living in France.]

Increasingly I am concerned about the lack of consideration given to the expatriate pensioner by the British Government.   Today with the coming together of the European States and the freedom of movement between States, France is a favoured retired home as let us say Bournemouth or Torquay were in the 1930s.   It should be the case that a pensioner moving to France should not be discriminated against.

I am very concerned (upset – annoyed) by:-

(select from below 1 to 4 or all, and  modify, – IT IS NOT NECESSARY TO INCLUDE ALL )

 

1.  The stability of the £ sterling. The Bank of England interest rate should at least match the European Central Bank - At the present time the BoE is 2%, the ECB is 2.5%.  This is a major factor in the decline of the £ and the reduction of spending power of the pensioner's income,  [ £ was = 1.40 euros, it is now =1.02 euros and declining. This is a fall of more than 25%.]
    Eventually the £ should be subsumed in the euro but at a far more favourable rate.


2.  That all old age pensioners who live in continental EUROPE should be able to enjoy the financial opportunities that are open to OAPs  in Britain.
   .
     i./.    i.e. - open bank accounts in the
UK - use savings opportunities - e.g. ISAs
     ii/.            receive all elderly persons' benefits, related to age, available to similar persons in the
UK- especially the Winter Fuel Allowance, pension credits


3.  The right of appropriate political representation in Parliament. An MP should be appointed to be a Minister for the expatriates in Europe, with a view to future direct election of MPs to Parliament by the constituencies of the European expatriates with British citizenship - no age or residency qualifications - solely that of being a British  citizen.. - This is in line with the situation relating to the citizens of most European States.

 

4. Relates to ex-Government employees only (teachers NHS , military, local government workers)

That the intention of Article 19 of the Double Taxation Convention France/UK  is recognised by the French Authorities. That is to say , that Government pensions paid to British ex-employees of the UK government are taxed solely in the UK and are not subject to review by the French authorities.

 

To be a British Citizen is important.  The British Government should recognise the valuable contribution that many pensioners have made to the life of the Nation, having lived through some of the most tragic and difficult periods of our Nation’s history.  [Born in or before the Great Depression of the 1930s – reared in the 30s under threat of War – evacuated in the War or served in forces – Bombed in the Blitz – others served in National Service – and lived under post-war austerity].  It is utterly disgraceful that we should now be treated as second class citizens simply because we have taken advantage of the calm and civilised culture [peace] offered on the continent of Europe.  Now many are thrown into financial difficulties because of the actions of the Government of the United Kingdom.

 

Your deep consideration of these matters is earnestly sought.

 

Yours sincerely.