State Pension  

MP fights frozen pensions policy

MP fights frozen pensions policy

Sir Peter Bottomley, a Conservative MP for Worthing West, has tabled an early day motion against government rules which dictate a freeze of some expat state pensions.

The Department for Work and Pensions introduced rules in March that restrict the state pension annual increases in cases where the beneficiary is not ordinarily resident in Great Britain.

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

The same applies 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 however have had their state pension frozen at the value it was at in the year they left the UK.

The government has been urged to correct this policy to allow increases for expats with frozen pensions, with more than 219,000 people signing a petition.

Sir Peter, who has been campaigning against the benefit freeze in some countries, is using his early day motion to promote the debate around this issue.

At a debate in the House of Commons on Thursday (April 11), he said: "It seems time that we take our responsibilities to those pensioners as seriously as we take our responsibilities to others.

"Why do they get the increase in Jamaica but not Trinidad, in the United States but not Canada, and in the Philippines but not Indonesia? It is crazy."

He told FTAdviser that he is calling on the government to "consider its policy, consult on what the options are, and pick an option which is fair".

It emerged in February that uprating the state pension in countries where it is frozen would cost the government £3.1bn between 2019/20 and 2023/24.

The government has said several times that it has no plans to allow policy increases for expats with frozen pensions.

maria.espadinha@ft.com