Government avoids ruling out freezing pensions of EU-expats after Brexit

March 17, 2017 Frozen Pensions 5 Comments

Baroness Mobarik The Government has, once again, avoided APPG calls to rule out freezing pensions for EU-resident British expats after Brexit.

When challenged to clarity their position in the Lords, Baroness Mobarik, a Government spokesperson in the Lords, said:

“I am not able to give the noble Baroness any more than I have already.”

All she had previously said in the debate was that freezing state pensions overseas:

“is a long-standing policy of successive Governments. This has been the case for almost 70 years and there are no plans to change the policy.”

Baroness Benjamin1Speaking in a House of Lords debate on Thursday 16 March 2017, Baroness Benjamin had raised concerns within the British expat pensioner community in the EU, that the government has not provided more reassurance to them that they wont end up with a frozen pension.

In recent years the Government has stuck firmly to its position to uprate “only where we have a legal requirement to do so”. But for those living in the EEA, this legal requirement is currently derived from membership of the single market, which the UK is now due to leave.

Benjamin said:

“My understanding, therefore, is that the Government will now either need to determine a legally binding social security deal as part of the exit package or be forced to act unilaterally to maintain uprating rights for EU-resident British pensioners.”

She argued that:

“That the Government should take this opportunity—when so much else is up in the air—to take a more fundamental look at their approach to payment of the state pension overseas. A modern, global Britain should surely recognise that the movement of its people is a good thing. A modern state pension system should recognise, support and encourage this, especially at a time when our ageing population is putting increasing strains on public services here at home.”

Towards the end of the debate Baroness Benjamin challenged the government to confirm whether it would apply it’s frozen pension approach to EU-resident British pensioners:

“Just for clarification, the Minister said that there was no change in the Government’s policy on uprating. Will that apply also to EU-resident British pensioners?”

Baroness Benjamin’s own view was that:

“If it is going to be changed for one group, it is not fair to the other.”

Baroness Mobarik ducked the question by answering:

“I can say only that this is outwith the scope of this debate. I am afraid that I am not able to give the noble Baroness any more than I have already.”

#Baroness Benjamin#brexit#Frozen British Pensions#frozen pensions#governement

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  1. James Tilley
    March 18, 2017 - 2:18 am

    From Baroness Mobarik, It’s long-standing policy of successive Governments. This has been the case for almost 70 years and there are no plans to change the policy.”

    This does not make the policy fair or equal or even complicit with what British people hope or even believe their governments practice. It relies on a flawed regulation which has to be challenged for being incompatible with fairness and equality requirements incorporated in the Rule of Law

    As Lord Carswell opined in the House of Lords consideration of the Annette Caron case in 2005 ;-
    ” Once it is accepted that pensions should be paid to contributing pensioners resident abroad, then no justification remains for paying some less than others and less than UK residents.” .
    Moreover earlier in 1996-97 the Select Committee on frozen pensions concluded;
    ” Britain was alone among the OECD countries in discriminating between pensioners in different overseas countries, rejecting any suggestion of compromise.
    Surely no-one would have deliberately designed a policy of paying pensions to people living abroad intending to end up in the position we are at today… A simple change in British law could enable up-ratings to be paid in any or all overseas countries, provided the political will was there to do so.”

    This a moral issue and as Dame Joan Bakewell recently stated, “There is another view aside from the niceties of the law that this is a matter of social justice. People paying insurance contributions in good faith expect to get the same pensions as their contemporaries, wherever they choose to spend their retirement. Geography should have nothing to do with it”.
    British expatriate pensioners will continue to find a way to challenge this outrageous British pension practice, even if it requires suspending the UK from the Commonwealth until this practice ceases and the UK complies with the Commonwealth Charter, which claims the Commonwealth is “implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination”

  2. David Girkin
    March 20, 2017 - 7:53 pm

    For shame, this uncaring British Government appears to be continuing this immoral policy/
    A CARING COUNTRY!!!! I believe NOT!!

  3. Frank Sanders
    April 11, 2017 - 7:15 am

    Hold your head in shame British Government so much for gratitude with frozen Pensions to former veterans and residents who rebuilt and served the country during the last war and beyond .
    How quickly we were obsolete when you entered the EU under TED HEATH we had to go out and find other markets on our own without assistance .
    Perhaps it is time to embrace this injustice and right this wrong it has gone on too long

  4. Vpgray
    April 12, 2017 - 8:00 am

    My husband and I worked 45yrs for ours bitterly regret he never lived to spend hiswe take nothing we have not worked for

  5. J Mary Hill
    April 21, 2017 - 2:45 pm

    Please continue to work hard to represent pensioners’ rights now, and in the difficult negotiations during the UK’S withdrawal from the E U. Keeping pressure on the government will be essential so the issue needs to be kept ‘live’ in different media outlets in the months ahead. Many thanks for your commitment.

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