Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Corbyn and frozen expat pensions

Half a million expats living on frozen state pensions could get a 2.5 per cent hike in payouts like other retirees from April, if a Labour-backed attempt to lift the block succeeds in Parliament.

State pensions become fixed when you first retire or move abroad if you decide to live in certain countries, including Canada, India and Australia, but not in others - forcing many to struggle with the cost of living or give up and return home.

Jeremy Corbyn has now thrown his weight behind moves to overturn longstanding regulations preserving the status quo, which are effectively rubberstamped each year without formal debate by MPs.

As Leader of the Opposition, Corbyn is likely to force discussions and a vote onto the parliamentary timetable this time.

The news has delighted pensioner campaigners, who welcomed Corbyn's support for ending what they dubbed 'this historic but entrenched injustice', and ignited hopes that a coalition of Labour, rebel Tory and other MPs would win any potential vote.

The current policy means some expats who retired when the basic rate was £67.50 a week in 2000 still get that, rather than the £122.30 which will be received by others who retired that year from April 6.

Corbyn said: 'This is a chance to make an historic change to our pension system and end the arbitrary discrimination against some British pensioners living overseas. 

'It is contrary to natural justice for some pensioners living abroad to be left behind while others have their pensions increased in line with inflation.

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