'Two-tier system!' State pension to rise by up to £900 this month but 500,000 pensioners will miss out

'Two-tier system!' State pension to rise by up to £900 this month but 500,000 pensioners will miss out

End Frozen Pensions campaigners spoke to GB News about frozen pensions

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 02/04/2024

- 10:25

Updated: 02/04/2024

- 10:27

Pensioners from the End Frozen Pensions campaign highlighted the impact of living with a "frozen" state pension during an exclusive interview with GB News

Hundreds of thousands of British pensioners will miss out on the 8.5 per cent increase to the state pension this month, due to where they live.

Around 500,000 people are estimated to be living with a "frozen" pension, because the UK state pension isn't uprated each year in certain countries.

It means those affected are losing spending power as inflation causes a rise in living costs, but their state pension remains the same each year.

The state pension increases each year for pensioners who live in some countries, but not others, such as Canada.

Speaking to GB News, Ian Andexser, Chair of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP), said: "There are 127,000 British pensioners that have chosen to settle and live out their final years in Canada, and because of the situation that's been in existence for over 70 years - the British government choose not to upgrade their pensions on an annual basis - is predominantly creating a lot of financial stress on these people.

"There are people in Canada that are living on as low as £46 a week in their pension."

Campaigners from the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, Edwina Melville-Gray, Ian Andexser and Sheila Telford

Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners Board Members Edwina Melville-Gray, Ian Andexser and Sheila Telford spoke to GB News about the campaign


Campaigner Edwina Melville-Gray thinks it's unfair that the UK doesn't increase the state pension for those living in some countries while it is uprated for others living overseas.

She said: "If all pensioners outside of the UK were frozen once they received it - the 1.2 million people, then we would say, well, 'Okay, that's our choice. However, 500,000 of us are frozen. 700,000 get an increase."

"If you want to say everybody shouldn't get a pension increase if they live outside the UK, because we want to spend the money on the UK pensioners, that's fine, but that's not how it works.

"It works for some and not for others and it's a two-tier system."

Mr Andexser pointed out that for those living close to the Canada/US border, friends living down the road are entitled to an uprated state pension, while they are not.

He said: "The perfect example is Niagara Falls. You've got Niagara Falls, USA and Niagara Falls, Canada.

"You can literally stare at each other across a 400-meter bridge. On this side of the bridge, you get a fully indexed pension. On that side of the bridge, you don't."

Among those affected is a 98-year-old man who lives around half a mile from the US border.

Mr Andexser has calculated that half a mile has "probably" cost this pensioner around £80,000 over the years.

While the rules surrounding uprating for those living abroad are published on the DWP website, some campaigners say they had no idea about the policy when they moved overseas decades ago.

Mr Andexer said: "When you talk to people of our age, none of us were aware because we moved to Canada quite some time ago.

"Nowadays, the DWP, they're very, very quick to say we notify people that there are restrictions of uprating in different countries in the world."


\u200bCampaigners deliver an End Frozen Pensions report to Downing Street last year

Campaigners delivered an End Frozen Pensions report to Downing Street last year


A Government spokesperson said: "Our priority is ensuring every pensioner receives the financial support to which they are entitled.

“We understand that people move abroad for many reasons and we provide clear information about how this can impact on their finances.

“The Government’s policy on the uprating of the UK state pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”

The state pension will increase by 8.5 per cent from April 6, equating to a boost of £900 per year for a person getting the full new state pension.

Those on the basic state pension and/or not eligible for the full amount will get less.

You may like