A D-DAY hero has branded the Government “shameful” for freezing his state pension rate since 1987.
Bernard Jackson, 91, risked his life during the Allied invasion of Europe – 70 years ago tomorrow.
Following the war he worked in Hove and Worthing until he retired aged 64 in 1987 and emigrated to Canada.
However, despite 27 years of inflation, he is still receiving the 1987 state pension rate of just £48 a week.
He said: “I paid into the system all my working life and now I feel I’m being cheated. I risked my life during the war and worked for 50 years in this country. The Government and all those before it should be ashamed.”
Mr Jackson, who lived in Hove Park Road, Hove, joined up in 1941 and trained as a wireless operator.
He landed under the cover of darkness at Arromanches on D-Day plus one and was tasked with sending and receiving vital messages to co-ordinate the invasion.
He said: “Wherever the troops went, we followed. I remember returning to the vehicle one day to take over from my friend. He was slumped over dead. A shell had come through and hit him in the back. It could have been me. It was horrible.”
Mr Jackson decided to retire to Vancouver in 1987 as he had friends there.
With the current maximum state pension rate £113 a week, he estimates to have lost around £80,000 to £90,000 over the past 27 years.
A Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spokesman explained state pension is payable worldwide.
However, they only top up to current rates where they have a legal requirement or reciprocal agreement with the other country.
In the US, just a few miles down the road from where Mr Jackson lives, the government top it up to the full pension rate.
He said: “I grew up with the belief that Britain was a fair and equal country. That’s not the case any more. This is keeping me going. I will not die until I get this changed. I have seen many good people try and fail but I won’t be another.”
The DWP estimate it would cost £590 million a year to upgrade state pension rates for residents who have moved to other countries.
A spokesman said: “People who are considering emigrating abroad should always consider the impact the move could have on their future state pension entitlement.”
Don’t miss our eight page D-Day supplement in tomorrow’s paper.
Inside the special edition will be a look at how The Argus reported the historic event, the heroes from Sussex who took part and the role the county played in acting as a launch pad for the invasion.