900.000 British ex-pats could be frozen out of triple lock pension

For years more than half a million recipients of a UK state pension living abroad have been frozen out of receiving the triple lock benefits enjoyed by pensioners still resident in Britain.

But after Britain leaves the EU at the end of March another 900,000 could find themselves out in the cold when the treaties which allow them to receive the same increases as pensioners still in the UK may no longer be viable.

Designed

Introduced by the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition government in 2010, the triple lock was designed to keep state pension increases in line with increasing costs by linking it to average earnings growth, Consumer Price Index inflation or 2.5%, whichever was the greater.

But the policy applies outside the UK only where it is a legal requirement to do so, like within the European Economic Area.

Those currently frozen out live in some of the most popular ex-pat locations around the globe: Australia, Canada, USA, New Zealand, Singapore and South Africa.

£3 billion

Figures just released by the Department of Works & Pensions have revealed that removing the block for those people would cost £3 billion over the next five years.

Top analyst Rom Selby said: “Over half a million people are understandably furious that, having paid into the system and retired abroad, they find their state pensions frozen.

Huge impact

“Over the course of someone’s retirement this could have a huge impact, potentially costing more than £50,000 in state pension income.

For many this might be the difference between living comfortably and struggling to make ends meet.

“Unfortunately for those affected there is no sign of a reprieve, with successive governments rejecting calls to rethink the policy and preferring instead to focus resources on those who choose to remain in the UK.”

No plans

A spokesman for the DWP confirmed there are no plans to change the policy which affects 550,000 pensioners, roughly half of all pensioners now living overseas.

Now concerns have been raised that almost a million pensioners living in European Union countries like Spain, France and Germany may not continue to be covered by the triple lock once Britain leaves the EU.