Grahame Morris MP is one of over fifty cross-party MPs who have made representations to the Home Secretary, urging her to examine the ‘frozen pensions’ policy, which sees the pensions of Britons who have emigrated to a country without a reciprocal agreement to inflation, frozen.
The current system affects 520,000 Britons, many of whom worked for years in the public sector, and paid national contributions in full when they were resident in the UK.
The letter, co-ordinated by Streatham MP Bell Rebeiro-Addy, in conjunction with the End Frozen Pensions campaign, seeks an end to the system which sees the state pension of those who emigrated to a country without a reciprocal agreement ‘frozen’ at the level it was when they left the UK. The arbitrary nature of the system means that those living in countries with reciprocal agreements are unaffected, and as such receive a pension increase in line with inflation.
The current system means that some have been forced to return to the UK in order to be able to afford their own care. It also results in some ethnic minority pensioners being dissuaded from joining family abroad when they retire, for fear that they will not be able to afford to do so.
It also disproportionately impacts the Windrush generation, many of whom did not leave the UK voluntarily, and at the time were not informed that their pension would be frozen if they did emigrate. The letter cites the case of 82-year-old Monica Phillips, ‘who emigrated to the UK in 1959 from Antigua at the invitation of the UK Government. She worked for 37 years as a devoted public servant, even working to keep our country safe at the Ministry of Defence. In 1996, Monica had to return to Antigua to look after her mother who had fallen ill. As a result, her pension was ‘frozen’ at £74.11 per week and has not increased since.’
Grahame Morris MP said, “This punitive system is in need of urgent reform, and I would encourage the Home Secretary to address the regulations that see pensioners, particularly members of the Windrush generation, unfairly penalised. It is simply wrong that people are receiving a smaller pension than they otherwise would had they not emigrated, and that this system is dictating whether people are able to join family abroad for fear of financial insecurity.”