APPG Meets Representatives of the National Pensioners Convention
September 15, 2015 Frozen Pensions 0 Comments
On 15 September 2015 the APPG met with several BAME representatives of the NPC to discuss the impact on Frozen Pensions on British ethnic minorities.
As a group we usually focus on the impact of frozen pensions on those who are already living overseas. But there is also an impact on people currently living in the UK, who are yet to retire and who might want to move overseas when they do.
For many the prospect of a frozen pension is a serious financial barrier to emigration.
The profile of new frozen pensioners is beginning to change. Whereas in the past, Australia and Canada have been the target destinations of British retirees. This is now becoming harder due to immigration rules. At the same time the demographic profile of those approaching retirement age is changing, as those who came to this country as immigrants in the 1960s, 70s and 80s reach retirement.
As a result there has been increasing interest in this issue from British Ethnic Minority communities, including representative groups and minority media. This has been helped by some key champions in the APPG including Yasmin Qureshi, Baroness Benjamin and Keith Vaz who have worked hard to generate awareness.
There is an increasing feeling that the impact of frozen pensions is discriminatory, given the countries where pensions are frozen are mainly those in the Commonwealth, and it is to these frozen countries that many ethnic minorities retain a cultural link.
The representatives from the NPC were clear that their concern for change was one of simple fairness, given the significant contribution to Britain and National Insurance payment made by ethnic minorities throughout their working lives.
The ICBP presented their research to the APPG. They commissioned a poll last year, focused on participants over 55 and of African, Asian South East Asian and West Indian ethnicity.
- 51% of respondents indicated that they were likely, or very likely, to return to their country of origin on reaching retirement age.
- 61% of respondents did not know that their pensions would be frozen if they went back to their country of origin.
- 40% indicated that knowing their pension would be frozen would possibly affect their decision to leave, while 25% said it would definitely affect their decision.
To translate this to real numbers. Based on 2011 Census data, this means that more than 200,000 people who would be likely or very likely to emigrate will be forced to remain in the UK due to frozen pensions.
It was pointed out that this was not simply an ethnic minority issue, and that many non minority pensioners are also having their retirement choices curtailed by frozen pensions.
The APPG restated their intention to campaign for this issue to be addressed and to make representations to the government.