Corbyn calls for immediate repeal of UK frozen pension legislation

Published:  27 Mar at 6 PM
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UK Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has joined the fight to repeal Britain’s hated ‘frozen pensions’ policy by calling for an immediate parliamentary vote to repeal the ruling.

Corbyn has been a strong supporter of the campaign to end expat frozen pensions, and is now urging British lawmakers to vote to end the discriminatory regulation. Labour MPs have just a week to secure a debate and vote in the House of Commons, as the UK Parliament’s Easter Recess begins on March 30. If the party’s efforts are successful, around half a million UK expats living overseas will see their pensions annually updated along with other pensioners in the UK and certain other countries, simply by the introduction of an annual 2.5 per cent rise.

The fight to end the longstanding discriminatory ruling has caused controversy for many years, as its effects mean a struggle to survive for long-term expats in many countries including Australia, India and Canada but excluding the USA and EU member states. The precarious post-Brexit position of British pensioners in EU member states has added a new dimension to the controversial block, involving many more thousands of UK retirees being reduced to poverty when their state pensions are frozen at the current level. Inflation and currency volatility could well force tens of thousands into unwilling repatriation to the UK.

For years, the ruling has been annually rubber-stamped by the British parliament without any formal discussion on the issue, but Corbyn’s position as Opposition leader is likely to force a debate and vote some time this week. Supporters of the longtime campaign to reverse the entrenched injustice believe a coalition vote including members of the rebel Conservative, Labour and other smaller parties could be successful, thus ending what is seen as discrimination against expat retirees who’ve paid Social Security contributions for their entire working lives.

Sir Roger Gale, chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Frozen British Pensions, referred to growing support in Parliament for ending the rule, saying that even Conservative members now believe the policy is unacceptable in its treatment of British state pensioners overseas. The International Consortium of British Pensioners campaign group has been fighting for the repeal of the law for many years, with its chairman John Markham saying Corbyn’s move is a significant development in the fight to end the dire poverty caused by the rule.

84-year-old Markham has lived in Canada since 1998, and is paid just £64.70 a week, the UK state pension rate at the time he left the UK.

Source: This is Money
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