State Pension  

Govt in discussions over state pension in EFTA countries

Govt in discussions over state pension in EFTA countries

The government is in discussions with four European countries to guarantee that UK citizens living there will continue to receive their state pension after Brexit, Guy Opperman has revealed.

In a written answer to Parliament on Friday (2 November), the minister for pensions and financial inclusion said the government was working with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland "on agreements to protect the rights of UK nationals living in those countries and their nationals living in the UK".

The countries are part of the European Economic Area (EEA) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA), an intergovernmental organisation set up to promote free trade and the countries' economic integration.

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Mr Opperman noted a similar agreement with EU member states had already been reached.

But the government has recently been urged to correct a policy to allow increases for expats with 'frozen' pensions.

More than 219,000 people have signed a petition, which was last week delivered to Downing Street.

The majority of pensioners living in the UK have their state pension increased according to the triple-lock principle, by a minimum of 2.5 per cent, the rate of inflation, or average earnings growth, whichever is the highest.

But the same applies only to expat pensioners living in certain countries, such as the US, all European Union countries, Barbados, Bermuda and Israel.

Pensioners living in countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa have had their state pension frozen at the value that it was in the year they left the UK.

According to the all-party parliamentary group on frozen British pensions, 550,000 British pensioners, equating to 4 per cent of all recipients of the state pension and half the pensioners living overseas, are currently adversely affected by the government’s frozen pension policy.

maria.espadinha@ft.com