APPG for Frozen British Pensions launches inquiry

June 30, 2020 Frozen British Pensions 14 Comments

On 30 June 2020, Sir Roger Gale MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Frozen British Pensions announced the launch of the APPG’s inquiry into the impact of the UK Government’s approach to UK State Pensions paid to UK pensioners who live abroad.

The focus of the inquiry will be on the policy of not uprating UK State Pensions in situations where the pensioner lives in a country that does not have a reciprocal uprating agreement with the UK. These are often referred to as ‘frozen pensions’, as the value of the UK State Pension paid to pensioners living in a country that does not have a reciprocal agreement with the UK is ‘frozen’ and receives no subsequent increases. The policy is believed to affect over half a million UK State Pensioners. Many of the countries in which UK expat pensioners have their pension frozen are Commonwealth countries which, by definition, have close and long standing societal, cultural and civic bonds with the UK.

The APPG hopes to collect a wide range of evidence from interested parties including, individuals affected by the ‘frozen’ pension policy, civil society groups, the Department for Work and Pensions and administrations that have residents with ‘frozen’ British pensions.

To read the full letter announcing the inquiry and outlining the questions for written submissions click here. Any responses to the inquiry can be sent via email to the Secretariat of the APPG at

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  1. Bill
    July 10, 2020 - 4:20 am

    Dear Sir Rodger,First of all let me thank you for all the work you dedicate to this cause.I am a recently turned 66 yr old pensioner.I live in Thailand I have only missed one uprate of the government pension,however I realise that in the long term future,as i am reliant on my pension ,that I cannot stay here and will have to return to UK.My wife cannot have residency there as i do not meet government financial requirements.
    So in maybe 10 years I will return to uk ,be a burden on the state for medical and other benefits.Doesnt make any sense to me,apart from it being unequitable.
    The worst part of this is knowing that everything I do here in my life now I will lose,,Its like the sword of Damaclese hanging over my life.Something I will not burden my Thai family with.
    Thank you again Sir,you have my total respect.

  2. Mr John West
    July 10, 2020 - 5:09 am

    Dear Sir Gayle
    Thanks for your efforts but just reading the introductions can I make it clear that the DWP has confirmed that Reciprocal agreements are not necessary.
    Also, Lady Puckridge, as you know delivered many signatures a few years ago and many WASP1 petitions and many rallies.
    Yes, fine to answer personal circumstances and what happens after we send them in an email.
    With respect are they going to be just ignored again and they total ignore us yet again and meanwhile many more have died (and I have known at least 20) and how long have the rest of us got and it seems to be an agenda that they want us to die ASAP.
    Appreciate the support but is it not time for some proper action and yet another year has gone by and now 71 years without one penny increase and see the 72nd Anniversary of the NHS this week.
    All of us 550K are struggling to provide for our families and I am in Thailand and in fact our purchasing power goes down each year, together with the very poor exchange rate.
    Unfortunately, I know of no one who has pot of gold and huge salaries and gold plated pensions in Westminster.
    So, please we want some action and not more debate.
    The real issues is the sly way the Pensions Act of 2014 Section 20 went through both Houses and this passes automatically near the end of the Parliamentary year.
    Easy solution revoke section 20 or is it too difficult to do.

  3. Mr John West
    July 10, 2020 - 5:53 am

    sIR Gayle
    I am married to a wonderful Thai Lady and no have no property at all in the UK and it was very difficult indeed in getting her over 14 years ago and not knowing your circumstances and I know a friend who was in Singapore, until last week and returning to the UK and all sorts of problems getting his wife a visa and amazing indeed, the more genuine one is it seems an easy target.
    I did look up requirements and some people are lucky to have a property back in the UK but even so, looked at the laws and one is supposed to have 68K in savings and earn at least 18K a year and a few months ago.
    Yes and have 2 granddaughters too and do the best I can for them.
    It is absolutely disgusting how all our pensioners, British born and bred citizens are “treated” including frozen state pensioners and disgusted to call myself British.
    Please sort this out with action and about time this was sorted and tired of debate and debate and nearly typed waffle.
    Things have got to be actioned very soon.

  4. Mr Robin Crockford
    July 10, 2020 - 6:02 am

    Dear Sir Roger Gayle.
    I am in my 75th year and have lived in Thailand for the past 24 years, I, like most others am not a permanent resident of Thailand, each year I must qualify for an annual extension to my original Non-Immigrant visa. All my working life I paid into the National Insurance scheme, although for most of that time I served in the British Army (infantry) in foreign countries. Since retiring and living here I have had my State pension frozen and am presently on a rate 35 pounds a week less than my former comrades in the UK. I have had my right to vote taken from me, must pay full rate for use of the National health service and of course can claim no benefits. Although I still have to pay full UK tax on my income. If I should default on my visa conditions I would be given 7 days to leave Thailand, so surely cannot be classified as Resident here. I have a Wife and two children, both of whom are in University, So the matter of a frozen pension does impact my life. Not a great reward for service to Queen and Country.

  5. Terry Kenneth Mayes
    July 11, 2020 - 10:22 am

    Dear Sir Roger Gayle.
    After many years of suffering from Psiratic Arthritis, in 2006 at the age of 57, and losing everything via a divorce I decided to move to a warm climate, as a warm climate was beneficial to my medical condition. So Thailand came to the fore as an ideal location because it was relatively cheap to live. In 2007, I made the move, met a nice lady and have been happily married ever since. My problem is I didn’t know my pension would be locked, and in 2010 payments for a wife stopped, so a double whammy for me. I now have to live on 135 GBP per week for life, which in this day and age is incredibly difficult, even in Thailand. I am grateful that you are looking into the matter and hope one day all British pensioners will be treated the same, regardless of where the put their feet up in retirement.

  6. Norma Maloney
    July 13, 2020 - 1:32 pm

    Dear Sir Roger,
    This way of contacting many of the pensioners is sometimes confusing, asking them to fill out a PDF form can be a problem as many have very little computer experience. My phone and my email address is being inundated with calls and emails on how to answer.
    Surely there could have been a better way of dealing with this enquiry as many of those that are frozen do not belong to any groups, for this to get to the majority of those that are frozen. This way you will not be able to contact and receive reply’s from many pensioners that have no computers.
    Perhaps a letter written to pensioners who’s address the DWP would have on Record.
    A person in your position I am sure could have been able to receive this information.

  7. Ray.
    July 14, 2020 - 3:29 pm

    Dear Sir Roger,

    I am writing in connection with the Frozen British Pensions inquiry that you chair.

    I am a retired UK home civil servant who now lives outside the UK. My wife is a retired NHS employee. Having initially retired to reside in Malta for health reasons we both received UK state pensions that were enhanced on an annual basis in line with UK costs. Whilst in Malta my and my wife’s state pensions were not deemed taxable in the UK but taxable in Malta but my civil service pension continued to be taxed in the UK.

    After consideration of the possible, even probable, implications of a UK Brexit crash out from the EU, where Malta is a member, at the end of the year with probable hostile implications for UK immigrants on health care, nationality and pensions my wife and I moved to another more stable jurisdiction where our UK state pensions are now frozen as at the time we arrived from Malta. Not only are our UK state pensions frozen in time but my civil service pension is now not fully enhanced on an annual basis as a proportion of it is paid as part of my state pension for some convoluted reason. Moreover whilst my state pension and my wife’s pensions may not remain taxable in the UK my civil service pension will still attract UK tax unless I obtain nationality in my president jurisdiction: an expensive exercise in some jurisdictions, notably Malta!

    It is with a certain degree of regret that I, and my wife, who have both contributed to pensions in the UK discover that we are denied the full benefits that have accrued as a result of our contributions or, in my case, deemed contributions factored into civil service pay. To continue to be taxed in the UK on a civil service pension but not a state retirement pension or NHS pension seems decidedly inequitable. Against this background, which is suggestive of a penny-pinching attitude of UK governments past and present, our patriotism is in decline.

    Your comments are invited,


  8. Andy Robertson-Fox
    July 16, 2020 - 4:26 am

    Ray – a couple of points. Your State Retirement Pension is part of your assessable income for tax purposes in the UK. It is set against your tax free allowance and whether your state pension is less or exceeds your personal allowance it accordingly governs the tax code allocated against your Civil Service Pension.
    The element of your Civil Service Pension that is normally paid with the State Retirement Pension is the government portion of the Guaranteed Minimum Pension (GMP) and consequently is frozen. When I retired some years ago, however, by making a request through HMRC Tax Office, the Civil Service Pension Administrator (MyCSP) was able to ignore that regulation and uprate the whole pension annually by whatever the % increase was for the year.
    Worth looking into, perhaps.

  9. Ray
    July 16, 2020 - 3:28 pm

    Dear Mr. Andy Robertson-Fox.

    Thanks for your advice. To do so kindly let me know using my fried’s email:

    in which jurisdiction you lived when HMRC decided you could upgrade your civil service pension in full?


    July 22, 2020 - 10:10 am

    Dear Sir Rodger
    I am 78 years old and have lived in Thailand for 11 years after my Doctor told me the only way to help my health would be in a warmer country not knowing my pention would be frozen i had a friend in Thailand so i moved there ( NOW MY CIVIL pARTNER ) i TRIED TO TAKE OUT HEALTH INSURANCE BUT COULD NOT AS I WAS TO OLD
    i have had to have a prostrate cancer operation wich took a lot of my finances eight years ago and have to still go to hospital for tests i have to pay
    I have no house in the Uk anymore so i dont think i would have enough money left to come back to the uk now
    I have sent letters to the last two Prime Ministers but just a printed sheet saying that uk and Thailand have no agreement . My computer skills are not good as i am Dyslexic as well .
    Every week i find it harder to live as when i came he it was 70 Bhts to a pound now maybe on a good day 370 tb
    i worked from the age of 18 until i was 65 paying nationl insurance and Taxes
    I hope you can help me before i pass away

  11. Ray
    July 22, 2020 - 1:01 pm

    Herewith a copy of correspondence with Ben Bradshaw MP.

    Dear Mr. Bradshaw,

    I write to you in your position as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen British Pensions which has recently launched an inquiry in the hope that you might influence its outcome which, hopefully might enhance the position of UK pensioners who live overseas and whose State Pensions are not increased on an annual basis in line with inflation.

    In this context I am forced to mention that government is not without ability to raise funds if it wishes as recent events concerning expenditure over Covid 19 have shown: it could find monies to enhance all State Pensions to those living overseas if it chose to do so!

    Moreover government has wasted considerable sums as a result of the ineptitude of Grayling – Failing Grayling – whose mismanagement resulted in Government being forced to pay Euro tunnel £33 million over his handling of a much-maligned Brexit ferry contracts. In addition Grayling’s involvement in the part-privatisation of the probation service in England and Wales cost taxpayers almost £500 million: these monies could well have been better used to pay overseas pensioners.

    Not only are State Pensioners penalised on moving to some overseas jurisdictions but as I retired Civil Servant I find that since a proportion of my employment pension is paid as an enhancement to my State Pension even my total Civil Service Pension is not fully upgraded annually something that was not made clear to me when I joined the service in the sixties.

    Hopefully you and colleagues might bring pressure to bear on the matters of which I write.

    Best wishes,


  12. Sylvia Guest
    August 13, 2020 - 9:53 am

    Dear Sir Rodger, I am an 86 year old widow. After the death of my husband I went to live in Thailand for the warm weather and to see my see my Grandchildren as my son lives there. After moving there some 13 years ago my pension was frozen. I find this quite disgraceful after I and my husband spent our lives living and working paying into the SS system. Then as soon as I leave the UK I am effectively forgotten about. They say paying us inline with others would be too expensive. What about the tens of thousands they save by not having able us use the Health system we paid into. Instead we have to pay our own medical fees or insurance out of the paltry pensions we get. That is even if we could get insurance. as once you are over 75 you are uninsurable. How much would it cost the Government if we all decided we had to move back to the UK.

  13. Gladys
    August 15, 2020 - 7:09 am

    How is it legal for pensioners who live overseas to have their pensions frozen? This is not a handout, this is money we and our employers paid into, ergo our own money. We had no option when working to opt out of the deduction so we could save ourselves for our retirement, reaping the benefit of years of savings and interest earned. Given that the government has just made a deal post Brexit, to update European pensions, what is the justification to continue to deny other British pensioners cost of Irving updating?

  14. Nigel Pike
    September 16, 2020 - 7:46 am

    Dear Sir Roger,

    I echo the concerns of other writers in this thread. I left UK in 1978 and have lived in Thailand since 1991 where I worked until 2012. I put a career’s-worth of income into my wife’s Thai hotel project two years ago and now we have been empty for 7 months and our 2021 bookings are being cancelled because of Covid. Furthermore, the exchange rate has collapsed from 70 baht to 40 baht per pound over the years.

    The number of qualifying years was reduced to 30 in 2007. I paid 37 years of NI contributions, and applied for, but was refused a refund in 2008.

    In 2017-2018, I engaged in correspondence with Mrs Theresa May and Mr Damian Green over the issue of frozen pensions, arguing that a) I had been mis-sold a pension scheme, b) I had been overcharged by seven annual premiums, c) I had been refused a refund on those premiums, d) the government had renegued on its commitment to pay me the state pension in full.

    I further pointed out that I am responsible for my medical expenses and am not a burden on the welfare state. I spent £15,000 on a double hip replacement three months ago and £12,000 for a prostate operation in 2012. If I had been resident in UK, these would have been charged to the NHS.

    I received highly unsatisfactory replies from their respective correspondence officers. They argued that they had been cleared of wrongdoing by the House of Lords and the European Court of Human Rights. However, this is NOT a human rights issue; it is a contractual issue, and the government’s stand is morally and contractually invalid. If DWP were a private insurance company, it would not get away with such high-handed and unconscionable treatment of its policyholders without public outcry, litigation and government intervention.

    I trust, Sir, that you will apply your maximum endeavours to correct this injustice. I would suggest a two-stage approach: (i) unfreeze all frozen pensions with immediate effect; (ii) deal with the backlog of under-payments subsequently.

    Thank you.

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