The Department of Work and Pensions has dismissed a parliamentary question about frozen pensions for British expatriates on the grounds that answering would be too expensive.
The dismissed question came from MP Jeremy Corbyn, who asked the DWP “how many expatriate recipients of the British Basic State Pension have returned to take up permanent residence in the country over each of the past five years and for each of those years, how many of them are (i) returning from EU countries (ii) returning from countries where a Reciprocal Agreement on Pensions is in place (iii) returning from countries where British Basic State Pensions are frozen.”
However the DWP swiftly replied “the information requested is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost”.
It is estimated that there are around 500,000 British pensioners lumbered with frozen pensions around the world. Mr Corbyn has explained that he found issue with the policy a long time ago: “I first became aware of this many years ago and tried to persuade the then Government in the 1980s to change the rules. They refused and sadly all subsequent Governments have also refused. Quite simply the state pension is contributions based and refusing to uprate penalises pensioners who choose to live in other countries with family or friends is unjust.”
He added “Steve Webb's (from the DWP) answer is disappointing, but not unexpected. We need to keep up the pressure”.