The End Frozen Pensions campaign aims to end the injustice of pensions for Britons who have moved abroad which do not increase in-line with inflation and so fall in real value year on year, also known as ‘frozen pensions’. The campaign, run by the International Consortium of British Pensioners, advocates on behalf of 520,000 Britons affected and has a number of parliamentary supporters. Many of these pensioners worked as nurses, firemen, police officers and other public servants, some are military veterans. Many are now living in poverty despite paying their national insurance contributions in full.
They moved, often to be near family, to live in one of the countries without a reciprocal agreement to inflation link their state pension, so their pension is ‘frozen’ at the level it was at when they left the UK. Those in countries with reciprocal agreements are unaffected so if you were a pensioner in the USA you would continue to get an up-rating but if you lived just across the border in Canada you would not. We believe this is deeply unfair and arbitrary and penalises hard working Britons.
For example, a pensioner aged 90 who has lived in a ‘frozen country’ for the duration of their retirement will receive a state pension of just £43.60 per week. If they had continued to live in the UK they would be receiving £125.95.
The highest numbers of affected pensioners are living in some of the largest Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada. By definition, Commonwealth countries have close cultural and political links with the UK. Some have been forced to return to the UK to afford their own care. Those who return are left with the daunting prospect of an expensive and upsetting upheaval to the UK in their old age and put further strain on the NHS and social care system at a time when it is already struggling.
Furthermore, ethnic minority pensioners who have cultural links to the Commonwealth are being dissuaded from joining family abroad when they retire because they know they won’t have financial security to do so.
The map below shows in blue countries in which British pensioners enjoy up-rated pensions and in red where they do not.