MPs plan a revolt against rules that hit the pensions of older British citizens living abroad
- The Government groups certain policies within a single legal bundle
- It means pensions are stuck at rates that applied when people left the UK
- Anne Puckridge moved to Canada in 2001 to be near her daughter and her pension is stuck at £72.50 a week compared with £125.95 for UK pensioners
Members of Parliament are in a Catch-22 situation – where fighting for a much needed boost to the pensions of hundreds of thousands of older British citizens living abroad means denying an increase in important social benefits for people at home.
However, some are now considering a revolt against the status quo.
The Government groups certain policies within a single legal bundle – a statutory instrument – which MPs are expected to wave through every year.
But while this allows for an increase in the Carer’s Allowance, for example, it ‘freezes’ State pensions for half a million British people at the same time.
Many OAP’s who live abroad have pensions stuck at the rate applied when they left the UK
The Mail on Sunday has closely followed the plight of the half million pensioners living overseas whose pensions are stuck at the rate that applied when they left the UK.
Many others who live abroad do not suffer the same hardship, as they live in countries that have reciprocal arrangements to up-rate income annually. These include the countries of the European Union.
But people who moved to countries including Canada, Australia and New Zealand live on a fraction of the State pension received by pensioners back home, or even in neighbouring countries, despite having paid national insurance contributions throughout their working lives.
Now the Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley says he will ‘pray against’ – the old-fashioned parliamentary term for voting against – the package of policies which have been laid before Parliament. He has presented an early day motion calling for debate.
Unjust: How the Mail on Sunday reported on the situation in November 2018
Bottomley says: ‘I am very disappointed to have to pray against a statutory instrument that includes increases to social security benefits that I believe in – but I have to make a stand for democracy and parliamentary procedure.’
He does so on behalf of people like 94-year-old Anne Puckridge, a courageous campaigner who served in the Second World War and worked in the UK until she was 76.
She moved to Canada in 2001 to be near her daughter, which means her pension is stuck at £72.50 a week compared with £125.95 for UK pensioners.
There is cross-party support for her fight.Former Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron says: ‘MPs should have a right to vote on the continued policy of freezing the UK State pension paid to expats.’
He calls the current predicament a ‘cynical abuse of procedure’.
Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi says: ‘More than 510,000 UK pensioners are suffering under this policy. The least the Government owes them is to allow free debate on this issue.’
To show support for British pensioners overseas, visit endfrozenpensions.org and write to your local MP.