Expats Fighting for Fair Pensions

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Pryce Warner International Group advise that British Expats around the world are campaigning to have their state pensions unfrozen.

It is highly unfair that those in Canada, Australia and elsewhere do not receive the same pension rates as those in Europe or the US.

Pryce Warner International Group - At present 500 000 Expats in 150 countries around the world have their state pensions frozen at the level at which they are first drawn.¹²³

This means many Expats around the world are suffering a reduced quality of life as their only source of income is not keeping up with inflation.

Due to this, several campaign groups have been set-up to try and lobby the British government to change this rule.⁴⁵

One of these, The International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) have pointed out that the decision makes no economic sense, as the government would save money from un-used health and social benefits, as more people would be willing to retire abroad.

A group of MP's led by Conservative MP Penny Mordaunt have started a motion in the UK Parliament to ensure that Expat pensions around the world move at the same rate. The motion so far has 38 signatories and has drawn support from all the major political parties. ²

Though the issue is getting more attention, a parliamentary question on the issue raised by Jeremy Corbyn MP in August was not answered.

Along with the ICBP he was aiming to get parliament to determine whether or not retirees with frozen pensions return to the UK or not. Anecdotal evidence suggests that it is in fact those in Europe that return most often, where pensions are not frozen. The reason for this is that individuals who retire in frozen jurisdictions are often much further away and therefore less willing to uproot.

It is a key question as one of the primary reasons successive governments have refused to unfreeze pensions is the cited cost of Expats from those countries returning to the UK.

However, The department for work and pensions decided it would be "disproportionately expensive" to answer the question. ¹

Several of the countries that presently do not allow pensions to increase are Australia, South Africa and Canada, which have long been very popular destinations for Expatriates

Expats campaigning for the changes cite the frozen rates as a form of discrimination, as Expatriates in the USA and most of Europe are not subject to the same regulations. They also cite the fact that they have paid national insurance contributions their entire working lives and are therefore entitled to the same pensions benefits as anyone else.

This has caused particular problems in Canada, where the Canadian government are having to supplement pension payments at the cost of local tax payers, effectively bailing out the UK government millions of pounds every year.⁶

This has led Expatriates in Canada to lobby David Cameron and the coalition government after they promised to change these regulations upon coming into power but they have yet to take any action.⁵ Despite the new campaigns in place many feel that pressure needs to be applied to Westminster to ensure that the changes are ultimately pushed through.

Any affected parties can visit 38degrees.org.uk, click on "campaign ideas" then "Fairness, Justice and Equality for all British State Pensioners" to register their vote of support for the campaign.

David Harra, a Senior Market & Investment Analyst with Pryce Warner International, an overseas pensions provider for Expatriates commented: "We strongly supports the campaign to ensure that pensioners around the world receive what they are entitled to. It is highly unfair that those in Canada, Australia and elsewhere do not receive the same pension rates as those in Europe or the US. With the low value of the pound and the frozen pensions rate it is more vital than ever that this issue be addresses and resolved by the British government. It simply makes no sense that pensioners in one country should have their pension rise along with the CPI yet others do not."

Pryce Warner International Group have over 40 years experience providing International Investment and Asset Management as well as providing QROPS & QNUPS Overseas Pensions for Expatriates worldwide. The QROPS Trustees used by Pryce Warner International Group in Guernsey are fully regulated and licensed by the Guernsey Financial Services Commission.

Attributions:

(1) Leah Hyslop, Parliamentary question on frozen pensions goes unanswered, telegraph.co.uk,16th August 2011

(2) Rachel Dalton, Expats mount parliamentary campaign for pension equality, ifaonline.co.uk, 20th June 2011

(3) pension-parity-uk.com

(4) britishpensions.com

(5) Brian Lechem, Frozen Pensions: An open letter to David Cameron, telegraph.co.uk, 1st July 2011

(6) Jane Davies, A message to Expats, canada.com, June 15th 2011

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Expats fight for fair overseas pensions