Shadow Pensions Minister, Alex Cunningham MP, today called for the government to uprate the state pensions of the British pensioners that have moved abroad.
Leading for the opposition in the House of Commons today Alex, who is the Member of Parliament for Stockton North, raised the difficult circumstances that overseas pensioners could find themselves in, especially in situations where they had to move abroad to look after ill family members.
As the law currently stands, there are 551,000 UK Pensioners living abroad in countries such as Australia and Canada who have had their pensions frozen at well below the level of those still living within the UK. A British pensioner who had moved abroad would still be only receiving the same payment of £67.50 that they were receiving in 2000, whereas a British pensioner in the UK is receiving p to £155.65 per week. This does not grow with inflation or grow at all, leading to a continuous reduction in real term income and loss of independence and eventually poverty for hundreds of thousands of pensioners across the globe.
Challenging the government, Alex said:
“The issue of overseas pensions is of even more pressing concern due to the recent invoking of Article 50, with a lack of clear government policy around much of the Brexit process. Many expats who have retired in the EU are facing an uncertain future and I have heard nothing about the protection of British people’s pensions in EU countries once we have left.
“In addition to being left uncertain of their immigration status, health benefits and many more issues, this government’s inability to commit to policy in Brexit negotiations has left 472,000 retired UK nationals living in the EU uncertain of just what the future holds for them.”
The Government maintains that they have no plans to relax the current restrictions on up-rating UK state pensions paid overseas or to enter into fresh bilateral agreements which provide for up-ratings overseas.