Australian foreign minister urges UK to end frozen pensions


Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr has visited London and implored William Hague to give British expats in Australia index-linked pensions.

Current UK rules mean that expats with UK state pensions only receive inflation-related increases if they live in certain countries.

However, around half a million expats don’t and they are stuck with a pension that remains at the same rate as when they initially began to draw it overseas, in some cases leaving them with incredibly meagre amounts of money to live on.

It’s estimated that round half of these expat pensioners reside in Australia, and to compensate the Australian government has been issuing supplementary pension to help them out.

Now, Mr Carr has stated that he will attempt to speak with the UK government with a view to changing the controversial system: “I will be raising the issue with my UK counterpart, William Hague, and be pressing the case very strongly. Australia has got a very strong case here. Previous foreign ministers have raised it without success but that won't discourage me from taking it up,” he said.

However, it seems that the plea is likely to fall on deaf ears, as this statement from the Foreign Office suggests: ““We do not apply living increases to the pensions of those living in Australia. Our policy in this area has remained the same since 1955, and we believe it is the fairest system possible for those who live and pay tax in the UK. Those living in Australia are still entitled to their full pension but, as they have not paid UK tax to offset pension increases, it is not applied.”