British pensioners have voiced support for any political party willing to unfreeze frozen state pensions for expats in a new survey.
The results suggest that just over 40% of British pensioners would vote for a party willing to help expats living in 120 countries overseas where state pension payments are capped.
This results in pensioners receiving a fixed payment equal to their first state pension amount without any rises linked to the cost of living.
The poll, carried out for the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), also revealed 60% of pensioners surveyed disagreed with the government’s stance on failing to upgrade expat state pensions if the recipient had paid national insurance contributions and tax throughout their working life in Britain.
ICBP chairman Sheila Telford said she was pleased with the support, pointing out that the UK pensioner vote is important, especially in general elections.
“The British public clearly recognise discrimination shown by successive UK governments against state pensioners who choose to live overseas,” she said.
“If the Electoral Commission’s current push to get expat voters to register is successful, marginal seats could change allegiance if enough expats vote.
“If a further push by a party determined to right the wrong of freezing state pensions happens and allows expat pensioners to vote, the result could be life-changing for half a million Brits in far-flung locations, many of whom are living on £30 a week or less.”
Around 5 million British expats live overseas and many of these communities include large numbers of over 65s receiving state pensions.
The Electoral Commission says 30,000 are registered to vote in UK elections, but is urging tens of thousands more to sign up.
Those living in countries with reciprocal agreements with the UK over benefit payments receive their pensions index-linked.
These countries include European Union nations, but not many of the favourite expat retirement destinations like Australia, South Africa, Canada and some Asian states.
The ICBP has campaigned for many years to treat all expat pensioners the same by index-linking their payments, but the government has steadfastly refused to move on the matter, citing cost and the fact that state pensioners knew before they moved that their payments would be frozen.
A legal challenge went all the way to the European Courts of Justice, where the judges ruled in favour of the government, leaving no further legal avenue open for appeal.