Frozen Pensions: The realities of an historic injustice
Over half a million UK pensioners overseas are denied the right to annual payment increases in line with inflation because they live in the ‘wrong’ country. This means their pension is ‘frozen’ at the level it was when they left the UK or first withdrew their pension, falling in real value year-on-year. This plunges hundreds of thousands of British pensioners into poverty, including former civil servants, mothers, fathers, and veterans.
The UK has a series of historical reciprocal arrangements providing the uprating of state pensions in certain countries. The Government most recently committed to uprating the state pensions of UK pensioners in the ECC in the Brexit Trade Deal, and UK pensioners in other countries such as the USA, Philippines, Israel, and Jamaica continue to receive their full payments.
This arbitrary system means that pensioners in other countries, and even in Overseas British Territories, such as the Falkland Islands, have their pensions ‘frozen’, despite paying in the same dues. Over 90% of affected pensioners live in Commonwealth countries with close cultural ties to the UK. The UK is the only country in the OCED to take this two-tier approach to state pensions.
The APPG on Frozen British Pensions found that half of frozen pensioners receive £65 per week or less. 85% of ‘frozen’ pensioners were unaware that their state pension would be frozen before they left the UK, and international governments are ready and willing to work with the UK to end this policy.
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