Jenny Macklin, Australia’s Minister for Families and Communities, recently spoke about the frozen pension policy of the UK. The minister issued a statement in Canberra stating that the Australian government sees UK’s Indexation policy being “unfair and discriminatory.”
Macklin added that the pensioners, mainly expatriates who are already living in Australia, paid their dues to the National Insurance Fund, “In good faith”. The government of Australia stays firm that these UK expatriates should be given their well-deserved pension under the same conditions, no matter where they are currently living or permanently residing at the moment.
The policy established by the UK to freeze pensions is not only affecting and penalizing UK nationals based in Australia but other UK expatriates in more than 100 nations. Australia was more vocal about this issue since they carry more than 50% of these numbers with more than 250 thousand expats living in the country. Aside from the freeze policy on pensions, another issue is that the British pensions are not getting any benefits from the inflation rates ever since they immigrated to Australia. These pensioners who have left the country more than 10 years ago live only using Australia’s mean tested assistance.
Macklin also highlighted that close to 200,000 frozen pensioners get partial pension or age-related pension. The country is spending around 100 million AUS dollar each year. She stressed that Australia could have saved that amount if the British expatriates are given the right pension and are rightfully indexed from the UK. According to Macklin, she has raised this concern to various UK counterparts again and again urging them to discuss these long-standing concerns with the government. She is making these statements as a response to the recent news regarding the International Consortium of British Pensioners suggesting to the Coalition Government to abolish these frozen benefits. The initial stage is to defrost the pensions for the expats who are 85 years old or more.
The ICBP made this suggestion based on the claims of the UK government that they cannot afford to provide grant parity to the frozen pension accounts. According to estimates, the amount to be spent would reach around 665 million GBP. The ICBP presents the argument that it would cost a much lower sum of around 100 million GBP to grant the parity to those 85 year old pensioners who are most affected by this long-standing pension freezing.
The consortium replied to the criticisms of phasing the parity by explaining further that if ICBP were to proceed to insist on parity for all, the end result would be parity for none. The consortium won Ms. Macklin’s support in which she states that she would support the UK government for any move that they would make to create pension equity for all UK pensioners, inside and outside the country. Miss Mackling is one of the latest Australian Ministers from a long list of advocates to abolish UK’s frozen pension policy.
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