Frozen State Pension Hope For Expats

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The government has agreed to look at index linking the state pension for expats with frozen payments.

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Letwin has relented after Whitehall has constantly blocked any discussion on changing state pension rules for expats.

The case was considered closed after European courts ruled in favour of the government some years ago, leaving expats with no avenue of protest other than lobbying ministers and MPs.

Now, Letwin has agreed to revisit the long-running campaign by the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP).

His promise follows MPs voting 297-73 against index-linking the new flat rate state pension starting in April 2016.

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No commitment

Another vote is expected in March on legislation that continues the uprating ban on expat state pensions, but the vote is expected to go the same way.

The ICBP says Labour MPs abstained from voting on the last

Although Letwin will look at the figures, the government has made no commitment to change policy.

The view from the Department of Work and Pensions is that the rules have been in force for around 70 years and that paying expats more would cost millions.

” Our view is that this is not a new rule and that expats knew before they left the UK how they would be affected,” said a spokesman for the department.

“The government has no intention of reversing this policy.”

Discrimination against expats

According to the ICBP, around 1.1 million British expat pensioners live overseas.

About half have their pensions index linked, giving them the same payments as state pensioners in the UK under special arrangements with other foreign governments.

The other half receive the state pension at the rate paid on the date they first receive payment and then the amount stays at that level throughout their retirement.

The ICBP complains that the process is unfair because how much is paid depends on where a state pensioner lives, not national insurance contributions they may have made during their working lives.

“Freezing the state pension for hundreds of thousands of British expats is discrimination by a government supposedly prided for promoting good ethics, fairness and behaviour,” said Jim Tilley, an Australian expat lobbying for the ICBP.

Read more on the ICBP web site and Facebook page

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Aging British parents desirous of living with their children who have emigrated to Australia of other countries where their Old Age pension will be frozen by the British Government are so disadvantaged. The unfairness of the ruling is so blatant. In doing this and in some other measures the British Government alienates their own nationals and those citizens are turned from being proud supporters (ambassadors) of Britain into antagonists of their own country.

  2. I think it is important to note that the vote (297 – 73) was as a result of a Deferred Decision and not the consequence of a vote taken after debate on the floor of the House and that the Statutory Instrument included occupational pensions and numerous benefits and allowances as well as the State Pension.
    This I believe placed many MPs in an awkward situation in that they support the campaign for abolishing frozen pensions but felt the need to vote in favour of the other measures; the two could not be separated (although one is tempted to ask why!).
    Secondly, the crass stupidity in the implication that because something has endured for seventy years it must be justifiable and good is obvious but that, together with “they knew the implicatıons before they left the UK ” is, in many cases, simply totally untrue and does not justify discrimination.
    The phrase “the government has no intention of reversing the policy” is debateable, although the DWP admit “they have no plans to do so (change thee policy)” which is a far more negotiable position and will become evident when Letwin has seen the evidence.
    The cost of upratıng according to the DWP is £580 million in total but, as Juliane Kokott, the Judge Advocate General at the European Courts of Justıce, has pointed out “it should be realised that budgetary constraints are not justification for discrimination”.

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