UK MPs David Linden, Margaret Ferrier, and Andrew Rosindell recently put separate written questions, concerning UK Frozen Pensions, to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, and the Secretary of State for Defence.

The replies from the Ministers are, of course, the usual…. “long standing policy for 70 years…” “moving overseas is a personal choice…” .etc.

The exchange of letters is below

David Linden MP, written question, 22nd November 2021

 To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent steps he has taken with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to resolve the matter of frozen overseas pensions for veterans; and what progress he has made on reciprocal agreements with (a) Commonwealth (b) other nations on that matter.”

Leo Docherty MP replied:

 It is longstanding Government policy that the UK State Pension is not uprated annually for those not resident in the UK, unless the pensioner resides in a country where there is a legal requirement to uprate, such as when a reciprocal social security agreement is in place.

This is a matter for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), who are also responsible for social security agreements with other countries, and it would not be appropriate for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to seek to interfere or intervene in a non-Defence matter. This is not a veteran-specific issue, with veterans living overseas in the same position as non-veterans, and, therefore, this does not represent a disadvantage under the Armed Forces Covenant to such veterans on account of their Service. As such, no discussions have taken place between the MOD and DWP concerning this matter.

When a member of the Armed Forces reaches their retirement age, they receive one of the most generous pensions available in the UK. This fairly reflects the unique sacrifice they have provided their country throughout their career. Armed Forces pensions are entirely separate from the State Pension and there is no comparable provision to freeze Armed Forces pensions. Armed Forces pensions are claimed and paid in the same way no matter where a veteran chooses to live and uprated in-line with the consumer price index.

 Margaret Ferrier MP, written questions, 22nd November 2021

 To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the findings of the survey published by the End Frozen Pensions campaign on 2 November 2021 that 28 per cent of British pensioners with frozen overseas pensions are unable to access medication as a result of financial hardship.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the impact of its policy on indexing state pensions overseas only for British pensioners in countries with reciprocal uprating agreements.

Guy Opperman MP replied:

No assessment has been made. The decision to move abroad is voluntary and remains a personal choice dependent on the circumstances of the individual. This longstanding policy has been in place under successive governments for over 70 years.

Andrew Rosindell MP, written question, 2nd December 2021

 To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to negotiate new reciprocal social security agreements with (a) Australia, (b) Canada and (c) other countries to prevent British pensioners facing poverty in their retirement.

 Guy Opperman MP replied:

The policy on the up-rating of UK State Pensions paid overseas is longstanding and has been supported by successive post-war governments for over 70 years.

The Government has no plans to change this policy.