Pensions problems in OTs raised in House of Lords
UK retirees in some overseas territories have seen pension increases frozen – but Bermuda residents have not been affected.
Lord Randall said In a debate in the House of Lords in a “probing amendment” about a potential increase in pensions earlier this week that UK nationals living in some Overseas Territories had enjoyed the same pension benefit increases as their UK counterparts, but that others had been left out in the cold.
State pensions are uprated only if the recipient lives in a country with a reciprocal agreement under UK government policies.
Lord Randall said: “Roger Edwards risked his life in the Falklands War taking on some of the most dangerous operation including SAS raids on Pebble Island and Goose Green and the retaking of and South Georgia.
“Roger is 70 now and, if he lives to a ripe old age, he could potentially be out of pocket by up to £7,000 a year.
“Mr Edwards, who was born in Wiltshire, did not lose his full pension entitlement because he moved to a foreign country with no connection with the UK.
“No, Mr Edwards lives in the very place he risked his life for. The Falkland Islands. A UK overseas territory. This means he has full British citizenship, yet that hasn’t stopped the UK Government from freezing his basic state pension.”
Lord Randall added that while Montserrat and St Helena residents have also had to make do with frozen pensions, those who live in Bermuda, “one of the worlds wealthiest places” got the same triple lock pension increases as UK residents.
He said about 680 UK seniors in Overseas Territories had frozen pensions, despite making the same contributions as UK residents.
Lord Randall also highlighted another UK veteran, Patricia Coulthard, who moved from the UK to Australia to be near her children and had her pension frozen.
He said: “That we have pensioners and military veterans such as Patricia Coulthard living on as little as £46 a week is utterly shameful and must serve as a wake-up call to end this callous, cruel and immoral policy without delay.”
He proposed an amendment to make sure that the pension benefits proposed would apply to all overseas pensioners who lived in a country with a reciprocal social security arrangement – including those whose pensions had earlier been frozen.
Lord Randall also suggested the UK government should work harder to agree reciprocal agreements with other jurisdictions.
He added: “This issue has been around for far too long, and it is about time that we as a Parliament and a nation decided that it should be resolved and that discrimination in our pension system should be abolished for all time.”