The Combined Armed Forces Federation. UK.
34 Raynes Road
Lee-on-the-Solent Hampshire PO13 9AL
Click this printer icon to print this report as a WORD document. (17kb).DATE: June 6th 2006.
ANNUAL REPORT 2005-2006
As you will note from the Agenda it is proposed that future AGMs will be held on the second Wednesday in May in the Union Jack Club, Waterloo. Any changes to this will be published on the Web-site. Please note for those who are not ‘Hands On’ with the Internet, that most sizeable public Libraries have Internet facilities and the Librarian will get you on to our site if requested, as a rule. Further, to save administrative costs, in future we will be sending out the Agenda with the Annual Report for the benefit of those not on the Internet. For those wishing to receive a copy of the Agenda in advance, especially if you wish to attend the AGM, contact the Sec. General and one will be forwarded. Please also note that it is accepted that the majority of our Membership is unable for one reason or another to attend the AGM so ‘Apologies’ are accepted without notice on your behalf. I had one from Rosalie Sheridan in Canada and another from Ian Hunter in Western Australia! It is important to let me know if you wish to attend however, since it is decisive in the size of room we book in the UJC.May I once again extend our grateful thanks to the Executive Committee for the support they have given the Federation over the last year. I would also like to put on record my personal thanks to Chris Watkin, our Treasurer, on behalf of the Federation. Once again Chris has done a first class job for us, not only as Treasurer but including administrative assistance. Unfortunately Chris is standing down due to his personal commitments and replacing him will be a hard act to follow. ‘Thanks Chris’ you have been a great asset both to me and the Membership. I’m hoping to persuade him to take over the Chairmanship, so fingers crossed?May I also extend my personal thanks to those Members taking the time and trouble to write to me with important issues related to our cause and how they have been affected personally. A copy of a letter received from Ron Hayden in Gosport recently, was of particular interest. I will be referring to his copies of letters from Mr P. Viggers M.P. and John Maples M.P., Treasury Minister responsible for Civil Service Pensions as long ago as December 1991, in our researched report. Please accept my apologies to all of you keeping me so informed and also those by Email. They are much appreciated, but if I tried to answer them all, as I used to, I would never be able to progress the work on our research, which was the case in the past. All your letters are kept on file in case you should wonder.Much of our research has now been completed but there are still important issues outstanding and it is hoped to produce the report for the start of the Autumn session of Parliament. For example we have been unable to date to determine just how and when the Armed Forces Pension Scheme was originally introduced. On the face of it there was never any Parliamentary approval given to it, which would have been a necessary legality, and something I intend to query with Mr P. Viggers M.P. Our thanks are also due to Lauren Griffin for the research she has kindly undertaken to carry out for us on a sub-contract basis. This has relieved me of travelling to Southampton University on a regular mission with the associated problems of parking involved.Thanks to a reference from Chris Watkins the Federation was put in touch with COBSEO – The Confederation of British Service and Ex Service Organisations. We have now become a Member and quite recently our Publicity Officer, Michael Kennedy IFA, attended a Veterans Forum in London hosted by Tom Watson M.P. Under Secretary of State for Defence and Minister for Veterans. We will be taking every opportunity to make him well aware of the injustice of the pre 1975 Pension situation especially when our Report is ready! May I suggest as many of our Members as possible write a ‘Typed’ letter to Mr Don Touhig pointing out (there is an example letter below) the injustice of our situation and the depth of feeling and resentment among ex Members of the Armed Forces regarding this Government’s present refusal to pay pro-rata pensions for service prior to 1975.** His address is House of Commons, London, SW1P 0AA. We already have the support of many M.P.s and recently I received a letter in support, ‘out of the blue’, from The Rt. Hon. Greg Knight M.P.!Thanks also to the astounding amount of work and advertising our Membership Secretary, Frank Rixon, has been doing over the last twelve months, the Membership is rapidly approaching the one thousand mark. This is all the more remarkable because Frank suffers constantly with pain in his sciatic nerve for which he was recently hospitalised and, he is no spring chicken either! On behalf of the Federation may I convey our gratitude to Frank and wish him a speedy recovery back to normal health. Sadly ‘Old Father Time’ has caught up with a handful of our Members and this is an ideal opportunity for me to express on behalf of our Members our sincere condolences to their wives and families. It is worth pointing out of course that when we do eventually get through to this Government the widows will also be entitled to a Pension! One final word regarding our Membership. There are some would be supporters of our cause being discouraged by Government misinformation. (There are some that say Politics is the art of Misinformation Management!) The misinformation regarding our claim is that if the Government recognised it they would then have to recognise the claim by all the other Public Sectors, which they could not afford! This is incorrect. We are the only sector of the public services not given the ability to transfer our accumulated pension rights in 1975, and our research will demonstrate this. Would be supporters please note! In conclusion may I thank our Membership on behalf of the Executive Committee for your continued support which is much appreciated and vital for progress to continue. This pays the bills and last year administration costs were £1500 alone! We are also grateful for the honoria of course, to off set our losses elsewhere. The Federation was turned down for both Charity Status and Lottery Funding which was extremely disappointing after all the work I put into them. They both appear to be gigantic bureaucracies with the sole aim of discouraging any hope of success. I think the Lottery Fund must have suddenly fallen asleep when the Politicians decided to build a tent somewhere that nobody else seemed to want? That cost ¾ £Billion and we only wanted help with Office accommodation! As far as Charity Status was concerned we are possibly better off without it since it would appear the administrative costs to keep the Charity Commission happy would have been prohibitive. We do aim in the far distant future to include Charity work especially in the field of Education if and when funds ever permit. However our funding at present is concentrated, in total, on the pro-rata pension issue and will remain so.The Federation has been approached by the Management Committee of the Armed Forces Pension Group with a view towards giving us their support. The latest news regarding their legal approach in the European Court of Human Rights is that their claim was rejected for reasons which appear to be due to timing? Apparently they should have applied within six months of the Appeal decision but failed to do so. In any case the ECHR seems to be, like a lot of legal institutions, a ‘Micky Mouse’ organisation which makes up its rules as it goes along and changes them when convenient. I have requested the AFPG to let me have any suggestions they have in writing and also invited them to join us in the UJC prior to our AGM for discussions. To date they have not responded and it remains to be seen as to whether they will turn up on June 6th? Whilst we are interested to discuss any suggestions they may have, our Executive Committee is of the opinion that we would welcome their support in the same way as any other application.We have had some good Media support over the last twelve months and my local paper, ‘The News’, did a recent article featuring myself with the heading ‘The Armed Forces step up their campaign for Service Pensions’. They offered to do so on receipt of a letter from a local Member and contacted me for co-operation. Last week an Editor from a local paper in Essex rang to say she would be publishing our advert for us this week. Several applications have been received in the meantime for Membership. This will all help to demonstrate to the Government we are not just a handful of malcontents and, that we have a genuine grievance they need to address for services rendered.
We look forward to your continued support.
Click this printer icon to view, save, or print a SAMPLE LETTER. Members are requested to send a similar 'typed' letter to Mr Don Touhhig M.P. including your own comments. Please also copy your local M.P.