Frozen state pension

Frozen state pensions is the practice of the British government of “freezing” (that is, not uprating the amount in line with “Triple Lock”[1] on an annual basis, as is done for residents in the UK), UK State Pensions, for pensioners who live in the majority of other countries, apart from the European Community countries and certain other countries with reciprocal agreements with the UK.


All British state pensioners receive their pension based on the level of their compulsory and voluntary contributions to the National Insurance Fund. However, if the beneficiary moves abroad, their level of pension is then dependent upon where they live.[2] If they are resident in Britain, uprating in line with CPI (either the annual price inflation, or average earnings growth, or a guaranteed 2.5% minimum, whichever is the greatest).[3]

The only other countries in which the UK state pension rises in the same way for pensioners resident in them are: European Community countries, Switzerland, Barbados; Bermuda; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Croatia; Guernsey; Isle of Man; Israel; Jamaica; Jersey; Mauritius; Montenegro; the Philippines; Serbia; Turkey; the United States of America; and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.[4]

Most British Commonwealth countries are included in the frozen list.[5]


Main article: R (Carson) v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

In April 2002, Annette Carson, a UK pensioner resident in South Africa, challenged the policy in the High Court under the Human Rights Act 1998 in April 2002 in the High Court, but the judge ruled against her, stating in the judgement that the upratings issue was a political one, not a judicial one. An appeal to the Court of Appeal (2003) failed, as did an appeal to the House of Lords (2005) and the European Court of Human Rights (2008). A subsequent referral to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in 2009–2010 said that it did not consider that the applicants resident outside the UK in countries not party to reciprocal agreements, were in a relevantly similar position to residents of the UK or of countries which did have such agreements. It therefore held (by eleven votes to six) that there had been no discrimination.[4]

During and since that time, various groups and individuals have been lobbying politicians both in the UK and in the countries in which the pensioners are resident, and petitions have been raised.[6]

There is an international consortium of lobby groups, funded by the member organisations, British Pensions in Australia (BPIA) and the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners (CABP). Funds are raised by the memberships and donations of individual members. BPIA and CABP jointly own the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), and they liaise with the All Party Parliamentary Group on Frozen Pensions (APPG) in the UK Parliament. Anne Puckridge, a 94 year old political activist who lives in Canada is the current ambassador of the ICBP and she has been campaigning since 2001 for pension parity.


  1. ^Thurley, Djuna; Keen, Richard (29 June 2017). “State Pension Triple Lock” (PDF). House of Commons Library.
  2. ^The Pension Service (July 2002), CF-N-701 7/02, Department for Work and Pensions
  3. ^Sewraz, Reena (17 October 2018). “State pension to rise by up to £221 a year in 2019”. Which?. Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  4. ^ Jump up to:ab “Frozen overseas pensions”. UK Parliament. UK Parliament Briefing Paper. House of Commons Library. 11 April 2019. − links to PDF of Briefing Paper Number CBP-01457, Frozen overseas pensions by Djuna Thurley and Rod McInnes
  5. ^Leaflet NP46, DWP “DWP Internal Standards and Guidance FOI”. Note: no longer available – see “[2015 response to someone enquiring after NNP46” (pdf). Retrieved 4 September 2019.
  6. ^Jones, Rupert (13 October 2018). “Frozen state pensions: thousands sign protest petition”. The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2019.

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