In the run-up to May’s general election in the U.K., the Green Party has promised to unfreeze the state pensions of British expat retirees.
The Green Party, who some analysts suggest could hold the balance of power after the election, released their manifesto last week and promised to “make sure that all pensioners living abroad receive the same pension and annual pension increase as those living in the U.K.”
Unlike British pensioners at home, expatriates in countries such as Canada and Australia are not entitled to inflation-linked annual increases in state pension. Currently British pensions are frozen at the time of moving.
The move would cost the government millions of pounds, as many expats are paid a just a fraction of the ₤115.95 received by those at home. Estimates put the number of pensions frozen currently around the half a million mark.
Successive governments have refused to address the frozen pension issue, insisting the yearly increases only be paid to pensioners in countries with which the British have a reciprocal agreement. Countries with pension agreements include the United States, Jamaica, and countries within the EU.