A petition urging the government to increase state pension payments for UK pensioners living abroad has been signed by more than 3,000 people.
At the time of writing (January 17) the petition had secured 3,120 signatures, with a closing date of May 29, 2022.
If the petition reaches 10,000 signatures, the government will respond and if it gathers 100,000 before its deadline, it will be considered for debate in parliament.
The petition is calling for all UK citizens who live abroad, who have paid the necessary National Insurance contributions, to receive the same state pension payments as those resident in the UK.
Under current rules a UK pensioner who moves abroad will have their state pension frozen at the level it was at when they left the UK or first claimed their pension overseas, unless their new country of residence has an agreement with the UK that says otherwise.
The issue affects countries such as Australia and Canada.
The petition stated: “This is entirely unjust! Why should we not get equal rights?
“Pensioners living abroad are less of a strain on the National Health [Service] (not using the services of GPs, emergency services etc.), in the vast majority of cases having to fund health care including care homes privately.
“Not receiving Winter Fuel Payment, not receiving discounted travel on public transport. Yet we are still [penalised]! It is only fair that the government treats all [its] citizens on an equal basis!”
Back in December 2020, an inquiry report by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions, called on the government to provide UK pensioners living overseas with their full uprated UK state pension as soon as possible.
Australia and Canada have been pushing for years for the UK to end this policy.
According to the report, at the time, of the 510,000 UK pensioners living on a ‘frozen’ pension, 230,000 are based in Australia and a further 150,000 live in Canada.
This amounts to 75 per cent of the UK pensioners impacted by this policy.
Submissions by the Australian government and Canadian MPs claimed the issue could be resolved via UK legislation, saying that their countries provided full state pensions to their pensioners who live in the UK.
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