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DWP claims it will cost £500m to ‘unfreeze’ expat pensions

31 October 2018

Uprating of expat pensions bound by legal requirements in the country to which person has retired

The UK’s Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has confirmed to International Adviser that it would cost £500m ($640.9m, €562.7m) to reverse the frozen pensions of British expats around the world. A DWP spokesperson said: “The policy on paying and uprating UK state pensions abroad has remained consistent for around 70 years under successive governments: the UK state pension is payable worldwide to eligible people but is only uprated abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so.

“If all UK state pensions paid overseas were uprated to the level payable in the UK this would cost an extra £500m a year.”

Expat protests

Last week, 93-year-old British expatriate Anne Puckridge, who retired to Canada, came to London to present a petition signed by more than 200,000 people to the UK prime minister, protesting about frozen expat pensions.

Frozen pensions affect more than 516,000 expats worldwide. Brits who have retired in Central America, Africa and in most countries in South America and Asia have had their pensions frozen to the rate available on their retirement day and are not eligible to yearly uprates like their counterparts living in the UK, EU and US do.

Ten per cent of UK state pensions are paid to overseas residents, nearly 5% of which are frozen.

Clive Walford, chairman of the Pension Parity in Indonesia group, who also presented written evidence to the UK parliament on the issue in June 2013, reached out to International Adviser and claimed the legislation to be “illogical” and “incomprehensible”.

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