State Pension: Fury as Windrush pensioner, 83, forced to live on £74 a week | Personal finance | Finance


State pensioners generally expect an annual increase in their sum, but this is not guaranteed. This problem is all too well known to Monica Philip, born in Antigua, a former British colony.

While Mrs Philip grew up on the island, everything changed for her in 1959.

She became part of the Windrush generation – from the Caribbean who traveled to the UK to find work.

She told the End Frozen Pensions campaign: “I went to the UK in 1959 because they wanted people to work there after the war to help rebuild England.

“I said, ‘Well, I’m British and I speak English.’ So I went.

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Due to its return to Antigua, which is a Commonwealth country, it has not been improved since.

Ms Philip said: ‘I think you really should be paid according to what you’re told.

“They said when you work you have to pay your taxes. They take what they think is theirs, and when you retire at a certain age, you get a pension. But we weren’t told it would be tied to where you go when you decide to retire.

Ms. Philip’s case is not uncommon, as it concerns the historic policy of freezing pensions.

This policy is the result of reciprocal arrangements made between a handful of countries and the UK to allow for the upgrading of state pensions.

The state pension will only be increased by:

  • Great Britain
  • European Economic Area (EEA)
  • Gibraltar
  • Swiss
  • Countries that have a social security agreement with the UK (but not Canada or New Zealand).

Those who don’t fall into this category will see their state pension ‘frozen’, meaning it falls in value because it doesn’t keep pace with inflation.

The End Frozen Pensions campaign has described this as an “arbitrary postcode lottery” and estimates that 500,000 people are affected globally.

The group campaigned for the government to change its policy and give raises to pensioners living abroad.

Ms Philip concluded: “I expected to get the same pension as everyone else. I would say that is unfair. They asked me to work and pay taxes – they didn’t ask me if I wanted to pay taxes, they took it until I reached the legal retirement age. I think they broke their promises.

A DWP spokesperson previously said“We understand that people go abroad for many reasons and we provide clear information on the impact this can have on their finances.

“The Government’s policy on increasing the UK State Pension for recipients living overseas has been a longstanding one for over 70 years and we continue to increase State Pensions Overseas where the law requires it.”


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