Thank you to the several constituents who have contacted me about the uprating of UK pensions for people living in Canada.
This is a difficult issue, which successive governments have struggled to resolve, but I am sympathetic to the position in which many pensioners find themselves. It is particularly hard to see the justice in the cases of our veterans – those who fought for this country – being denied the pensions that they earned, simply because they moved abroad to be with their families in their later years and did not realise what would happen.
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union, the UK State Pension will still be increased each year for those living in the EU, in line with the rate paid in the UK. However, there are now 500,000 people living in other countries with their pensions frozen, such as India, Australia and, as you mention, Canada.
When pressed on this issue earlier this year by a cross-party group of MPs, the Government said it had no plans to change existing policy or for discussions with either Australia or Canada on the subject.
However, I know Canada has requested a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK. When this request, and the situation of British WW2 veterans now resident in Canada who receive frozen pensions, was raised in the House of Commons recently, the Government said it would respond to the Canadian Embassy in London on this matter and consider the issue “carefully”.
I believe it is right that the Government provides an update on the situation and tells MPs what the outlook might be. It also needs to make sure its position is made abundantly clear to all pensioners, especially as they approach pension age.
Please be assured I will continue to follow any developments in this area closely.