“Due to a quirk of history, half the eligible pensioners living overseas receive annual uprating payments, just as those living in the UK do, the other half do not. In my view this is an unjust situation, leaving British people, who have made the required contributions during their working lives, with a diminishing income throughout their retirement”.
Sir Peter has been an outspoken critic of the ‘frozen’ pension policy for more than 10 years when Early Day Motion 1001 was raised. The video below shows why:
“If people pay in, the pension should pay out, regardless of their address. I pay national insurance and I pay my tax, and in return I get a pension. That is a very simple expectation. It shames this Government and successive Governments that they have failed to meet their obligation to people who have chosen to move overseas.”.
“People move abroad, on or before retirement, for a number of reasons to do with home, family or other factors. There is nothing wrong with that. They have paid for, have worked for and are eligible for pensions in this country and I see no reason for the pensions that they receive not to be linked to what is paid here … We should arrange for the current state pension here to apply to British pensioners wherever they happen to be, provided that they are eligible to receive it.”
“Parties of all political persuasions have made all the right noises and said positive things when in opposition, but have completely reneged on that when in government, because Governments always tend to renege when the Treasury gets involved”.
“What makes this policy so outrageous is that it is not applied consistently. Move to anywhere in Europe or the US for example, and your pension will be uprated as it would be had you stayed in the UK, but move to Pakistan, India or Bangladesh and find your pension frozen. This is an issue of fairness and I can only hope that common sense prevails and that the government overturns this ridiculous policy once and for all”.
“Many of my constituents have grandparents and parents who answered our Governments’ calls after the war to come to rebuild our country. Many of those pensioners have been long-standing public servants and have even fought for our country. They have paid national insurance for many, if not all, of their working lives and played by the rules”.
“Thousands of frozen pensioners, particularly those in their later years, are being reduced to real poverty by this policy. Some have been forced back to the UK, to be supported by the State. Others have simply lost their independence and with it their self-esteem. I find this appalling. We have to break the institutional conservatism to get this idea looked at properly. We must continue to push for change on this matter of social justice. It is simply unacceptable to sit back and watch as our own pensioners, wherever they may live, slip further into a life of hardship”.
“I have yet to hear of a general or a defence minister say ‘We can’t bomb that country because we’ve exceeded our budget – we can’t find the money’. But when it comes to giving our pensioners their pension, we can’t do it. I just don’t accept that whatsoever.”
Whilst Ms Black was talking about the WASPI campaign, she could just has easily have been talking about “frozen” pensions.
“The majority of Commonwealth nations are part of this process where pensions are frozen is a slap in the face for those who served not only this country but the Commonwealth in the second world war and in conflicts after that. In this year, when we have so many commemorations, unfreezing pensions would be a worthwhile exercise and would show that we value the worth of these people.”
“The Government are taking “an out of sight, out of mind” approach, which leaves our pensioners who live overseas in some countries worse off each year, in real terms, through an incoherent system that sets us apart from every other member of the OECD”.
“They are living on a pitiful proportion of the state pension that, by rights, they are entitled to. Some live in abject misery, denied the money they contributed month on month while working, and living on as little as £30 a week while their peers in the UK receive £115.95. Many of them didn’t know when they left that this would occur. This simply cannot be right.”