Published On: Mon, Nov 20th, 2023
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‘Forgotten veterans’ among 500,000 living abroad hit by scandal of frozen pensions | UK | News

The decades-long policy means they get around half the amount of those living in this country.

It comes as a report highlights that 60,000 veterans are missing out on thousands of pounds each year because of the Government’s reluctance to change the rules.

The “forgotten heroes” are among those who have left these shores to live in Commonwealth countries such as Canada and Australia.

Official figures show that there are around 480,000 state pension recipients living in countries where payments do not grow in line with rising costs and wages.

Those relying on these frozen pensions are not covered by the “triple lock”, which ensures retirees in the UK have state pensions that rise every April by the highest of wages, the rate of inflation or 2.5%.

Under the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU, arrangements to adjust payments were extended to Britons living on the Continent.

However, no such deals have been made in a number of Commonwealth countries. The Canadian government has floated
the possibility of putting an agreement in place.

The basic state pension is £156.20 per week, but someone who retired or emigrated to Canada as a pensioner in 2001 has theirs frozen at £72.50.

The report – National Service: A forgotten period of British history – by the Canadian Alliance of British Pensions highlights how the Government’s “frozen pensions policy” is impacting those who served in the Armed Forces.

And Peter Sanguinetti, who was a lance corporal in the Royal Hampshire Regiment for two years, estimates he has missed out on £23,000. He ended up having to drive school buses in his 80s, before Covid meant he could not carry on.

Peter said: “I paid my full national insurance contributions for 24 years expecting to receive the appropriate state pension, never thinking that because I would one day live in Canada the British government would steal from me what is rightfully mine.”

Terry Doyle was a gunner with the Royal Artillery from 1959 to 1961. He worked in the UK for more than 40 years before moving to Canada.

He said: “I feel cheated, conned and disgusted at the continued cynical, hypocritical and unprincipled attitude of successive UK governments in denying me what I paid for during 40- plus years.”

Senior Conservative MP Sir Peter Bottomley, a vice chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen Pensions, said: “It’s a scandal that has been running for decades too long.

“This needs changing and it needs changing fast. The Government’s head is in the sand. These pensioners can’t put their hands in their pockets and meet living costs.”

Dennis Reed, director of the Silver Voices campaign group, said: “It has been a running sore for many years and the Government must deal with this injustice now.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”

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