Unfortunately there is still no satisfactory answer for those UK State pensioners whose pensions are frozen despite the inequity of this situation.
As the BBC reported on 16 March 2010, some UK expat pensioners lost their pension freeze appeal in the European Court of Human Right in Strasbourg. The rejection considering only the legal aspects of the case was by an 11 to 6 majority.
As might be expected, the Department for Work and Pensions welcomed the ruling and said the department’s first responsibility was to support pensioners in the UK. Despite this clear dereliction of duty, the Department in fact treats half of all expat pensioners in exactly the same way as it does those in the UK. Emigrate to Spain and you’ll even receive a fuel supplement even though the climate would not justify that. Only when pensioners have emigrated to the Commonwealth countries (Canada, Australia, etc) and a few others does the Department stick to the terms of an unjust and inequitable set of legal agreements.
All UK State pensioners have by law paid in during their working lives in order to receive a pension. There are certainly no moral arguments that would support withholding from some of these pensioners what is their rightful due.
Given that morality and equity are on their side, these unfairly treated pensioners will continue the fight. There are a considerable number of supporters both within the UK and in the rest of the world who want to see fair play. The International Consortium of British Pensioners is dug in for a fight particularly as all the political parties wish to be the winners in the next election.
The Department for Work and Pensions’ own figures show that every UK resident over the age of 60 costs the UK taxpayer annually £7,000 in their share of NHS costs and benefits over and above basic and additional pensions. By providing pension parity to all, at an average annual cost per capita of £1,000, there are potential savings of billions by making emigration easier and more appealing.
The UK is the only OECD country that does not provide equal pension portability rights to all of its citizens regardless of where they decide to live in their retirement. This is not a question of cost. It is a question of modernity, logic, and above all justice. People around the world continue to wonder that British standards of morality and fair play have fallen so far.
If you want to help, then join one of the groups around the world that is fighting for equity. You can also sign an online petition demanding parity for British pensioners abroad. You don’t have to be an expat or a pensioner to sign the petition. If you are concerned about this callous treatment of its own pensioners by the UK government, then please sign on.