UK expat frozen pensions still under fire in Australia

Published:  17 Feb at 6 PM
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In spite of many legal and political knock-backs, the fight against the British government’s stance on frozen pensions is still alive and kicking in Australia.

The disgrace of frozen pensions has continued over many years, with many thousands of elderly UK long-stay expats living overseas being forced into increasing poverty by the rule. Currency fluctuations make matters worse, as a heavy fall in sterling can mean the difference between just getting by and being unable to support even the most basic lifestyle. Often, UK pensioners are left with no option but to abandon friends and families and return to Britain.

British Pensions in Australia (BPiA) is fighting for the rights of the many thousands of older UK expatriates who’ve paid their National Insurance contributions for their entire working lives. BPiA’s main aim is to force the UK government to recognise British citizens’ right to index-linked pension parity with their counterparts in the UK.

According to BPiA’s chairman Brian Owles, the organisation is now working with CABP in Canada, and both groups are acting through the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP) in the fight for full parity for every British pensioner living outside the UK. A partial upgrade, he states, will not be acceptable although, should it be offered, it would be considered.

Both groups have a supportive friend in the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen Pensions (APPG), composed of MPs who are fully aware of the plight of retirees overseas on frozen pensions. Some 550,000 elderly Brits, half the full number of UK expats overseas, are affected by the rule, with many now at or below the poverty level.

More than 95 percent of those affected live in former Commonwealth countries, with the majority in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Many more emigrated to warm Caribbean islands or to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and all African states. APPG is made up of MPs from all political parties who’ve united in the effort to bring in deliverable and affordable policy solutions and end the injustice causing misery to so many.
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