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State pension frozen: Pensioner devastated by ‘unfair policy’ | Personal Finance | Finance


In April, benefits and the state pension will be increasing, but half a million pensioners won’t get it. The increase won’t be felt by people who live in parts of the world where the state pension is frozen, as their rate will remain at the level it was first paid to them overseas.

Countries affected include Australia, Canada, New Zealand as well as India and most African and Caribbean states.

A petition to change this was launched in January but it’s got just above half of the signatures it needs to get a government response.

Anne Puckridge, 97, is among the 500,000 people whose state pension is frozen. She spoke to BBC’s Money Box about her situation.

Anne served in the army, navy, and air force. In 2001 she moved to Canada to be near her daughter.

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Since then, her pension has remained at £72.50 a week, rather than nearly doubling like it would have if she had stayed in the UK.

Anne said: “I used to be proud to be a British citizen, now I’m ashamed.

“I have to accept too much help from Canada. I also feel like the British Government is regarding us as expendable.

“I’m very fortunate to enjoy good health at my age but there are many who are suffering because they won’t recognise that it’s an unfair policy.”

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The Government has previously estimated that it would cost the taxpayer an extra £640million a year by 2023/2024 to start uprating these pensions.

The office of the Canadian Minister of Seniors told Money Box that the UK Government had declined to engage in discussions, but Anne does not understand why.

She continued: “All pensioners pay the same contributions; all pensioners should get the same.

“Why on earth are they quite silent about refusing to give us what we have fully earned and fully deserve. It’s beyond comprehension how a government with any integrity can treat their own pensioners so shamefully.”

Sheila Telford, from Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, campaigns for UK pension to be paid in full in Canada.

She said: “There are about 130,000 frozen pensioners in Canada, and some people are really suffering. The more elderly they are, the more they are suffering.

“There is a gentleman in Vancouver who is 96 and of course his pension was frozen when he turned 60, and he is on £42 a week, instead of the £140 something it would be after April. We all feel here that the policy is illogical, discriminatory and just wrong.”

Express.co.uk has contacted the DWP asking for comment.

A DWP spokesperson previously said: “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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