Pensions Apartheid Is Keeping Expats Trapped In The Past

Patrick Hosking, the Financial Editor of The Times, sets out the pensions anomaly faced by British expats due to the UK’s two-tier approach to indexation of pensions.

Depending on where you retire to your pension may be ‘frozen’ and not have the benefit of the ‘triple lock’.


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Dela Willmott is 98. After a lifetime paying national insurance contributions, the former office manager from Sussex retired in 1979 and started drawing a state pension of £17 a week. Today, she is still drawing her state pension. Unfortunately, it is still £17 a week.

For Dela retired to Australia, one of 150 countries where recipients do not get their UK state pension uprated each year to take account of inflation. She is one of 548,000 Britons affected by the weird anomaly known as “frozen pensions”.

Had she retired to anywhere in the European Union or the United States, or stayed in the UK, she would have been protected by indexation, and in particular the triple lock — the promise that pensions will be lifted every year by the highest of inflation, wages growth or 2.5 per cent. Her £17 a week would now be £122. Over the years, the absence of inflation-proofing has all but destroyed her retirement incomeRead more