FROZEN PENSIONS

I am aware of the predicament of many pensioners living overseas as a result of the UK Government’s ad hoc policy on up-rating overseas pensions. According to a report by the International Consortium of British Pensioners & National Pensioners Convention, about 550,000 UK pensioners living overseas are affected by the frozen pension policy.

This has caused great hardship for many overseas UK pensioners, with some being forced back to the UK and others simply losing their independence and a decent standard of living in retirement. UK pensioners who have paid their fair share of NI contributions should not have to suffer simply because previous Governments have failed to establish bilateral agreements with certain countries. This is a failure of the UK to give full pension entitlement to those who have earned that right.

In the last UK Parliament my SNP colleague Ian Blackford MP, as spokesperson on pensions, was at the forefront of the campaign to end this injustice. In both 2016 and 2017 he tabled a motion to annul the yearly regulations which give effect to the arbitrary freeze on some overseas pensions, however the UK Government refused to make time for a debate on their annulment. He spoke out against this policy many times in the Commons chamber and was also Vice-Chair of the APPG on Frozen Pensions.

The SNP, led by Mhairi Black MP, who has taken over the spokesperson role for pensions, will continue to the fight against this unacceptable and unfair policy.

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