All British pensioners who have made National Insurance contributions during their working lives are entitled to a British state pension regardless of where they choose to live. However, 4% of recipients of the UK state pension are denied their full pension because of an illogical Government policy that prevents their pensions being uprated in line with inflation.
The UK State Pension is payable overseas but is only uprated if the pensioner resides in the European Economic Area or a country with which the UK has a reciprocal agreement which legally requires uprating.
Otherwise the UK state pension is ‘frozen’ at the level it was on the date the pensioner left the UK, falling in real value year-on-year. This plunges hundreds of thousands of British pensioners into poverty.
More than 90% of ‘frozen’ pensioners live in Commonwealth countries, such as Canada and Australia, which have close cultural and political ties with the UK.
Furthermore, black and ethnic minority pensioners who arrived in the UK as part of the Windrush generation have been disproportionately affected.
Many have strong cultural and familial links and wish to return to the country of their birth to retire but are prevented from doing so, despite having contributed a significant amount, if not all, of their working lives to the UK.
There are 510,000 British pensioners suffering purely because they moved to the ‘wrong’ country. If you were a UK pensioner living in the United States you would continue to receive an up-rated state pension, however, across the border in Canada you would not. It is not right that the livelihoods of hardworking Britons who paid into the system rest on this technicality. All it takes to change this is domestic legislation.
Additionally, by living abroad those affected by the Government’s ‘frozen pension’ policy save the UK millions by not relying on medical or social services. In 2019, the DWP estimated that uprating frozen pensions would cost £600 million a year.
- The End Frozen Pensions campaign advocates on behalf of 510,000 British pensioners who paid their National Insurance Contributions during their working lives in the UK but had their pensions ‘frozen’ when they moved abroad.
- In October 2018, 94-year-old WW2 veteran Anne Puckridge flew from Canada to the UK to campaign for an end to the Government’s frozen pension policy. The visit received considerable media attention in the national and local press.
- The issue has also garnered significant public and political support with a quarter of a million signatures on a live change.org petition and over 60 members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions.
- Anne Puckridge will be returning in 2019 to continue her 18 year-long fight for her full state pension.
How you can help:
- Sign the Campaign to End Frozen Pensions online petition.
- If you live in the UK you can write to your MP and call on them to support the campaign to End Frozen Pensions and end this unjust policy.
- If you are affected by the ‘frozen pension’ policy, you can also email your former MP and ask them to support the campaign. Make sure to emphasise that you are a former constituent and that they are the last MP you had in the country before you moved.
- Anne Puckridge’s daughter Gill has started a petition on change.org, which you can add your name to.