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MP backs veterans' fight for equality.

Byline: JOANNE DOUGLAS

A PETITION calling for equality among war veterans has been handed to Downing Street - with more than 300,000 signatures.

Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney was at their side as veterans continued their battle to achieve pension equality.

The Equality for Veterans Association are leading the campaign to highlight the differences ex-servicemen receive in pensions.

Sid West, West Yorkshire-based deputy campaign manager for EFVA, said: "Jason McCartney is supporting us and is one of the MPs lobbying other MPs for an Early Day Motion.

"We've handed in a petition with 300,000 signatures and if the Government don't listen to that we'll hand another in with 100,000 signatures.

"We're aiming for one million signatures."

The Regular Veterans who served in the period April 1975 onwards receive pro-rata pensions according to their service over a minimum of two years, whereas those who served in the period 1949 to March 1975 receive nothing.

Full pensions are awarded to regulars who complete 16 years for commissioned officers and 22 years for other ranks.

Mr West says that one of his former school friends who has lived in Canada for 30 years receives more than pounds 600, while he gets nothing even though he served for longer. It's because he unknowingly left two months before the cut off date.

The Equality for Veterans Association says members were not made aware of the changes in the pensions legislation which was passed in 1973 and many left the service just short of 22 years totally unaware that a few more months or even weeks would see them entitled to pensions.

The veterans now want the matter resolved and for servicemen to get the same rights as all others.

CAPTION(S):

* MP SUPPORT: Jason McCartney MP, centre, and Bob Russell MP (Lib Dem), centre right, with Equality for Veterans Association officials, from left, Sue Day-Jeal, Richard Jeal, Colin Challen, Judith Widdowson and chairman John Sykes (S)
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Mar 14, 2011
Words:323
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