New calls for next UK Government to increase 450,000 frozen State Pension payments

Nearly 21,000 people have signed an online petition calling for an end to the practice of ‘freezing’ the State Pension for retirees living in a country which does not have a reciprocal agreement with the UK Government, even though they have paid the maximum number of National Insurance qualifying years during their working life.

The International Consortium of British Pensioners advocates on behalf of around 450,000 expats affected by ‘frozen pensions’ and is behind the ‘End Frozen Pensions’ campaign, which aims to “end the injustice” for Brits who have moved abroad whose State Pension does not rise in-line with the Triple Lock every April.

The video accompanying the petition highlights how some Britons, who are now resident in Australia, Canada, South Africa, Antigua, Malaysia and Thailand, have seen their State Pension frozen since the point of emigration - despite having worked and lived in the UK for most of their lives.

Margaret lives in Australia and receives a weekly State Pension of just £24 each week as it has been frozen for 23 years.

Anne Puckidge, 99, served in the Second World War and worked in the UK up until the age of 76. She paid her National Insurance in full, however, when she left the UK and moved to Canada to be closer to her daughter and grandchildren, her State Pension was frozen at £72.50 per week.

James is 72 and now lives in Australia. He finds it “difficult and unfair” that he bought additional National Insurance years to make up for a shortfall in his State Pension only to have it frozen when he emigrated.

The International Consortium of British Pensioners says that many of those affected by frozen State Pensions worked as nurses, firemen, police officers and other public servants, some are military veterans. It said: “Many are now living in poverty despite paying their National Insurance Contributions in full.”

John lives in Canada and receives a weekly State Pension of £80 each week. He said: “It’s already lost a quarter of its value.

“I thought the Commonwealth had very special ties to the UK, but that is apparently not the case. In fact, if I were only to move about 200 miles further south across the US border, my pension would be fully indexed.”

Triple Lock policy

Under the Triple Lock, the State Pension increases each year by whichever is the highest between average annual earnings growth from May to July, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate in the year to September or 2.5 per cent.

New and Basic State Pension payments increased by 8.5 per cent in April. Over the current financial year, the full New State Pension is worth £221.20 each week, some £11,502 in annual payments. The full Old or Basic State Pension is worth £169.50 each week, some £8,814 in 2024/25.

Political party manifestos and frozen State Pensions

None of the political parties have addressed the issue of frozen State Pensions in their manifestos ahead of the General Election on July 4.

Conservative Party

Commenting on the Conservative Party manifesto, Edwina Melville-Gray, spokesperson for the International Consortium of British Pensioners, said: “For less than £50 million the Prime Minister and his Conservative Party could have ended this long running scandal that condemns many of the nearly half a million affected overseas UK State Pensioners condemned to poverty.

“Some of those affected are receiving a UK State Pension as little as £20 per week. It seems politically bizarre not to have done so. Many of the overseas pensioners can vote for the first time due to the recent changes in the overseas voting rules introduced by his Government.

“Whilst the decision on who to vote for is rightly an individual and private matter, it surely can’t be lost on the Prime Minister and his advisers that many of our members are desperate to vote for Parties committing to address this injustice.

“And it seems particularly tone deaf to be trumpeting the creation of a Minister for Overseas Britons whilst ignoring the biggest political and financial issue for half a million of them. We renew our appeal to the Conservatives to put this right.”

Labour Party

Commenting on the Labour manifesto, Ms Melville-Gray, said: “While we commend the Labour commitment to review the pensions landscape and improve pensions outcomes, today’s announcement remains a missed opportunity to address the longstanding ‘frozen pensions’ scandal.

“Half a million disenfranchised, forgotten overseas pensioners are looking for a political home in the first election in decades that many can now vote in since the change to overseas voting rules. Excluded from the yearly State Pension increases and forced into financial hardship as a result, many are led to cutting down on food, medicine and other essentials, and still await a full recognition of their ongoing suffering.

“Labour backed an end to this cruel policy in 2019. It is disappointing that this ‘Government in waiting’ has made no such pledge today. We sincerely hope that Labour will stand up to its commitments, and conducts a full review of the State Pension to include addressing this deeply harmful, purely arbitrary policy.”

Liberal Democrats

Commenting on the Lib Dem manifesto, Ms Melville-Gray, said: “We are deeply disappointed by the lack of commitment in the Liberal Democrat manifesto, towards ending ‘frozen’ pensions and the longstanding injustice dealt to nearly half a million British pensioners living overseas.”

She added: “Despite this Party’s previous support on this issue, we are faced once again with empty promises and a political party unwilling to stand up for this key, yet further forgotten, group.”

Reform UK

Commenting on the Reform UK contract, John Duguid, Chair of the International Consortium of British Pensioners, said: “We’re deeply disappointed that ending the scandal of so-called ‘frozen pensions’ that condemns many of the nearly half a million affected UK State Pensioners to poverty doesn’t appear to be part of Reform UK’s ‘contract’ with the voter.

“This is particularly upsetting given that the document clearly says that ‘Our Elderly Deserve to be Treated with Dignity and Respect’. We renew the appeal to Mr Farage, so powerfully expressed in a letter hand delivered to his HQ from the 99-year-old Second World War veteran Anne Puckridge to commit to end this scandal.”

You can watch the video and view the ‘End Frozen Pensions’ campaign petition on the website here.