Frozen Expat Pensions: 220,000 Sign Petition Protest

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Expat pension protesters were signing a petition at the rate of 100 people a minute to protest the British government policy of freezing state pensions.

Now, 93-year-old expat Anne Puckeridge is flying into London from Canada to hand the 220,00 signature petition in at Downing Street to highlight the plight of retired Brits abroad.

Puckeridge left the UK for Canada 17 years ago.

Her state pension payment was £72.50 a week and has stuck at that rate since as Britain does not index link state pension payments for all expats.

Only those living in the European Union and a list of selected countries with reciprocal social security agreements with the UK enjoy having their state pension payments increased each year in line with inflation in Britain.

Government won’t listen to arguments

“I have to be so careful with what I spend. I have to be so careful with Christmas and birthdays especially – I can’t indulge my family,” said Puckeridge.

“It’s the injustice of it that gets to me.

“The government won’t answer our questions and when they do they send us back boiler-plated answers. They just won’t listen.”

Since moving to Canada, Puckeridge reckons she has lost £22,000 in payments compared to an expat pensioner with an index-linked state pension.

Co-ordinating the campaign is the International Consortium of British Pensioners.

Living in wrong country

“Some survive on as little as £30 per week and in some cases they are now receiving less than when their pension first started. How can this be right?” says the consortium web site.

“Across the world, hundreds of thousands of British state pensioners are being discriminated against simply because they retired to the wrong country. There are 120 frozen countries of which 18 have 1,000 or more frozen UK pensioners living there.”

The consortium believes more than 500,000 state pensioners are impacted by the government policy.

The government response to the  campaigners is that the government pays the pensions it is required to pay under existing legislation and reciprocal arrangements with other countries and that widening the net to cover other state pensioners would cost too much – around £600 million a year.

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