MPs Set To Tackle Expat Frozen State Pensions

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Moves are underway for expats to launch a fresh attempt at overturning rules which freeze their state pensions.

For 70 years, British expats have argued that they get a raw pension deal because of where they live.

The rules say if someone entitled to the state pension leaves the UK for abroad, they are paid the state pension – but it is only increased in line with the cost of living if they live in certain countries.

This list of countries extends to the European Economic Area and a handful of countries which have a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK.

Voted through

Every year, the rule is renewed in Parliament along with the increase of other state benefits.

The renewal regulations are automatically voted through unless an MP submits a motion to reject them, which would have to be debated and agreed by MPs.

“By building a parliamentary alliance we will stop this Government trick and end the frozen pension policy,” said a spokesman for the End Frozen Pensions campaign.

Now, a cross-bench group of MPs is planning to try and overturn the regulations in Westminster.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions is suggesting a partial uprating for expat pensioners, which would effectively increase their state pensions in line with inflation from April 2019 without backdating the rise.

£200m plan

The group hopes this plan gets around government complaints that uprating all expat state pensions in line with inflation would be too expensive, at around £700 million a year.

Led by Tory MP Roger Gale, the group estimates their plan will cost £200 million.

“There is a group of people who have served this country and paid their dues throughout their working lives who now find that their pensions are frozen. It leads to the anomaly where a pensioner living on one side of Niagara Falls has a frozen pension, while a pensioner living a few hundred yards away on the other side in the US has an uprated pension, annually. It is nonsense and iniquitous,” he said.

“We are trying to achieve an understanding that we will uprate existing pensions at today’s rate from now on. It is not going to satisfy all the pensioners who understandably feel aggrieved, but we can establish the principle so over time we truly get this right.”

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