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Greens promise to unlock frozen pensions

mooseIn the UK give-away election bonanza, the Green party has vowed to end frozen pensions if it holds the balance of power after the general election.

Its manifesto, published today, contains a commitment to resort full state pensions to expats who have taken up residence in countries where their British pensions are frozen at the time of moving.

The manifesto said the party would "make sure that all pensioners living abroad receive the same pension and annual pension increase as those living in the UK".

If the party wins enough seats, it could be sought after as a coalition partner. Any agreement struck with another party could, therefore, include this commitment. At the same time, however, it the commitment could be traded away.

Expat British pensioners in many countries, including Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada, do not receive the annual inflation-linked pension increases.

Consequently, their payments are frozen, leaving some elderly expats with just a fraction of the full basic state pension of £115.95 paid to those in the UK.

Expat pensioners with frozen pensions are thought to number some half a million.

Successive British governments have said that only pensioners who live in a country with which the UK has a reciprocal agreement on pension increases will receive index-linked rises every year. These countries include EU countries, Jamaica, and America.

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