My apologies for the shortage of information over the last 6 months but I can assure our Membership that progress is being made although additional research remains to be satisfied. Our advertising is paying dividends and in many cases, thanks to those Members already giving us their support, our numbers are increasing on average by 10 per week. This has enabled us to build upon our resources to sponsor the ‘Report’ we will be eventually sending to every M.P., the Media and other interested outlets of influence. Depending upon those resources will make the difference in the end on whether we succeed or not in securing a contract with a Publisher. It’s likely to be a costly exercise, so for those of you with any doubts about whether to continue your support, please keep this in mind.Once again I can assure Members all our existing finances and efforts are focused on the pre 1975 deficit of Pro-rata Occupational Pensions for those serving prior to this date. Although we provide some Members and outside enquiries with helpful advice from time to time, mostly pointing them in the right direction to seek the help they are looking for, Members can rest assured we do not intend to be ‘side tracked’ with other issues.There have been some interesting developments in the Press, and The Guardian in particular recently, regarding the need for our services as a Federation for present day Members of the Armed Forces in relation to conditions of service. The shortage of ‘Flak Jackets’ leading to the loss of life of an Army Sergeant is a typical example. I have written to The Editor of The Guardian requesting his Newspaper to let it be known that subject to the Armed Forces of today joining our Federation and providing the necessary funding, we can quickly take on additional staff to satisfy this need. This was always the original intentions of the Combined Armed Forces Federation UK but, it all requires funding and costs ‘MONEY’! My message to present day Members of the Armed Forces is contact our Membership Secretary – W.O. Frank Rixon B.E.M. (Retd) with your name, address and Service details, in writing, at 10 Nepaul Road, Tidworth, Hampshire. SP9 7EU and we will set up a separate ‘Fund’ for the benefit of those serving at present. The Membership includes their Wives or named Partners and children, and costs £2 monthly by Standing Order. I think I am correct in stating that the British Police Forces have a quasi ‘Closed Shop’ agreement among their Members when they join, such that they automatically become Members of The Police Federation, and their subscriptions are deducted from their salaries each month. The Police Federation’s message to them is ‘In relation to the work you do, can you afford NOT to be a Member of the Police Federation?’ This message is even more appropriate for the Armed Forces and we are investigating whether the quasi ‘Closed Shop’ arrangement would be acceptable to our present day Service personnel? Other developments related to the article in The Guardian Newspaper could be of interest to CAFF UK Members in the future and if so I will be commenting on them in the next Progress Report. My letter to the Editor of The Guardian is in the CORRESPONDENCE section of this Web-site.
The outline of our ‘Report’ to all M.P.s is beginning to take shape and the work on these accounts in part for the delay in producing this progress update. I hope also that Members will appreciate that we wish to keep the findings of our research confidential until we are ready for publication. Unless we do so, much of it could be compromised in the meantime. However if any Member wishes to make a contribution to it or suggest anything they think should be included, now is the time to write to me. I will be referring to some of the Case Studies I have already received anyway. For example from Members who feel they were misinformed regarding their Service Pension Rights, and others who were prepared to serve 22 years or more but prevented by the Government, for various reasons, from doing so.
Work is progressing on our application to be registered as ‘A not for profit Charitable Company, Limited by Guarantee’ but it has turned out to be a long and demanding process. For this reason and those above, together with the further research we need to do in the meantime it could lead to a delay in this year’s A.G.M. The details are not likely to be available until April at the earliest but they will be posted on the Web-site as soon as we are able to.
We continue to keep our costs to a minimum and once again we owe a vote of ‘Thanks’ to our Membership Secretary, Frank Rixon, and Treasurer Chris Watkin, for the sterling work they continue to do. Other good news is that Michael Kennedy, our Finance and Publicity Officer, is back on board after being indisposed for a few months. Welcome back Mike!
‘A HAPPY NEW YEAR’ to all our Members!