State pension: Pensioners furious as sum frozen at £122.90 a week | Personal Finance | finance

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State pensioners typically expect their sum to increase each year, but this is not a guarantee. State pensions only increase when Britons are in certain countries.

These are:

  • The United Kingdom
  • The European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Gibraltar
  • Switzerland
  • Countries with a social security agreement with the UK (but not with Canada or New Zealand)

Those living outside of these countries will not receive annual increases, and 500,000 people are thought to be affected in this way.

Such is the case of Barry Gardner, 73, who has experienced a frozen state pension for the past eight and a half years.

Mr Gardner, who was born in Grays, Essex, worked in the UK for a total of 33 years whilst contributing to his state pension.

READ MORE: Pension warning as families could face ‘significant tax burden’

In doing so, however, he had to reckon with his pension being frozen at £122.90 a week.

He told the End Frozen Pensions campaign: “I find it difficult to live on a frozen pension because things don’t get cheaper just because you retire.

“I still support my children and grandchildren in the UK for essential, medical and other expenses.”

Mr Gardner said he had previously inquired about his state retirement age entitlement to find out what he might be entitled to.

He was told that his lifetime Social Security contributions would qualify him for a full state pension.

However, he argued that was a “blatant lie” as his pension is now frozen as he has chosen to live abroad.

He continued: “The frozen pension is unfair because I paid all my contributions, social security and taxes.

“Layoffs took me to a country that was not on the redundancy list.

“This list selectively penalizes and discriminates against genuine pensioners who have worked their entire lives in the UK based on something pensioners cannot control.”

Mr Gardener also lamented the situation for expats who had previously served in the armed forces.

He added: “Veterans of war from World War II and the Falkland Islands have also been implicated in the discriminatory policies of this and previous governments over the past 70 years.

“These people are the ones who are against paying full pensions to loyal British subjects who have never been accused of any wrongdoing.

“People just live in the ‘wrong’ country abroad after retirement for many reasons.”

The policy of frozen state pensions has been in place for decades, but groups like End Frozen Pensions believe it must end.

A Government spokesman told Express.co.uk: “We understand people move abroad for many reasons and it can impact their finances. Go to GOV.UK for information on how going abroad affects your entitlement to a UK State Pension.

“The Government’s policy of increasing the UK State Pension for expatriate beneficiaries has been in place for more than 70 years and we continue to increase the State Pension abroad where required by law.”

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