‘Pay up!’ Man, 85, furious as his state pension is ‘frozen’ at £70 per week
Pension has been frozen for Brian and wife for 18 years
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State pension payments usually increase each year by the highest of 2.5 percent, average earnings or inflation under the triple lock. Even though this policy has been temporarily suspended, most Britons will be expecting a rise this year.
However, for an estimated 500,000 people this will not be the case, simply due to living in certain countries.
The Government says state pension increases are only guaranteed for those living in:
- The UK
- The European Economic Area (EEA)
- Countries with a social security agreement with the UK (but not Canada or New Zealand)
This is the bind facing Brian Green and his wife, who are both 85 years old.
Mr Green was born in Billinge, near Wigan in Lancashire, and grew up in the UK.
His wife was born in West Hartlepool, County Durham, and also spent most of her life in the UK.
However, in 2003, the couple made the major decision to leave their life in the UK behind to move across the world to Australia.
Their choice was motivated by the fact their daughters already lived in this country, and they were keen to be closer by.
They now reside in Queensland, Australia on the Sunshine Coast.
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But their move would prove costly in terms of their pension, which has been frozen since leaving 18 years ago.
Mr Green told the End Frozen Pensions campaign: “Our pensions have been frozen for some 18 years. I receive £70.02, and my wife receives £48.04.
“This, I believe, is immoral.
“If we had chosen to live in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo or Turkey, or indeed 14 other countries with which the UK has a bilateral or reciprocal arrangement, our pensions would not have been frozen.”
Mr Green appeared to accept the idea the UK Government will not pay backdated pensions to impacted expats across the globe.
However, he added: “But they could start paying the full and entitled pensions from now. Today.”
Since first arriving in Australia back in 2003, Mr and Mrs Green have not remained there all the time.
Instead, they have managed to go back to the UK each year for a two month period.
But Mr Green highlighted their pensions undergo a temporary change when they reach Britain.
He continued: “During that stay, we received an increased entitlement to our pensions.
“So on Monday, when I set off, my pension is frozen in Australia. On Tuesday, when I arrive, my pension is thawed.
“What does it matter where I am?”
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Mr Green is keen to highlight the issue which is thought to affect thousands of people across the world.
He concluded by urging the Government to take action, and said: “I paraphrase the words from Sir Henry Newbolt’s splendid poem: Vitai Lampada.
“Government – pay up! Pay up! And play the game.”
A DWP spokesperson previously told Express.co.uk: “We understand that people move abroad for many reasons and that this can impact on their finances.
“There is information on GOV.UK about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK state pension.
“The Government’s policy on the up-rating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years, and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”
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