'Unfair postcode lottery': Anger over 500,000 British pensioners missing out on triple lock

Sun bathers in deck chairs on the beach in Brighton, Sussex, as the record for the warmest Halloween in Britain has been shattered, forecasters say.
Some pensioners living abroad will not see their state pension payments increase in line with inflation (PA)

The government has been urged to bring a halt to an "unfair postcode lottery" that means almost 500,000 Britons living abroad have had their state pension frozen.

Under the pensions triple lock, UK pensions rise annually by either inflation, 2.5% or average wage growth, whichever is highest.

Inflation was 10.1% in the qualifying month of 2022/2023, meaning most state pensions will see a large increase.

Pensioners taking a break, before a march to mark the start of the three-day National Pensioners Convention in Blackpool's Winter Gardens.   *Organisers of the Pensioners' Parliament, in its sixth year, predicted a record number of more than 2,500 OAPs would take part in the conference. The protest and the conference will raise issues such as the future of the basic state pension, provision of care for the elderly and the need for free and improved public transport.
The pensions of British citizens living in countries such as Australia and Canada are frozen at the level they were at when they left the UK.

However, 492,000 Britons overseas miss out on annual state pension rises.

The pensions of those in countries such as Australia and Canada are frozen at the level they were at when they left the UK.

Dozens of MPs have now backed a campaign group's call to end the policy.

On Monday, SNP MP Dave Doogan tweeted: "Half a million people have had their pensions frozen because they live in countries without an annual uprating agreement with the UK.

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"The UK government must end frozen pensions and ensure people get the uprated pensions they deserve."

Campaign group End Frozen Pensions has written to the government to end the policy.

The group says: "We are writing to urge you to end the injustice felt by half a million British pensioners living overseas, excluded from annual state pension uprating by the UK government's frozen pensions policy simply because they live in the 'wrong' country."

The campaign group pointed out that pensioners in countries with agreements, such as the US, do receive fully uprated pensions, but those in countries such as Australia, Canada and parts of the Caribbean, do not.

An estimated 48 Commonwealth countries are excluded, End Frozen Pensions said.

The Canadian government has previously requested making a deal with the UK to solve the problem for some 127,000 British pensioners living there, but a resolution has not been found.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY JUNE 20 File photo dated 22/12 /16 of an elderly woman holding pound coins in her hands. Around one in seven (14%) 65-year-olds were in income poverty in late 2020 as a direct consequence of the state pension age rising from 65 to 66, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). Issue date: Monday June 20, 2022.
British pensioners abroad should receive state pension increases, campaigners say. (Getty Images)

End Frozen Pensions said: "This unfair postcode lottery has to stop - we believe that all UK pensioners deserve their full state pension no matter where they happen to live and urge you to end this longstanding injustice."

Campaigners and pensioners staged a protest outside the department for work and pensions in London last week.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “It seems very unfair that ex-pats who live in certain countries outside of the UK and EU miss out on having their state pension uprated each year.

"Over time this means they can be deprived of tens of thousands of pounds that really should be theirs, leaving some in dire financial straits. It’s high time this long-standing injustice was remedied for every older UK citizen who chooses to live in another country in retirement.

"Every one of these pensioners has already spent years paying into the system through National Insurance contributions or credits and deserves to receive the same income boost as everyone else, regardless of where they live.”

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “We understand that people move abroad for many reasons and that this can impact on their finances. There is information on gov.uk about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK state pension.

“The government’s policy on the uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”