Skip to main content

Expatriate Pensions

Volume 550: debated on Monday 10 September 2012

3. What discussions he has had with officials in his Department on the long-term financial benefits to the Government of up-rating frozen expatriate pensions. (119816)

We estimate that the cost of uprating frozen pensions would be about £655 million a year. We believe that this is substantially in excess of any hypothetical savings arising from changed migration behaviour that might follow a change in policy on frozen pensions.

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for that answer. He will be aware of the Oxford Economics report published last year that suggested that the Government could make a net saving overall in relation to pensioners who wish to retire overseas but are incentivised not to do so by the frozen pension situation. He will also be aware of the grave injustice against British pensioners who have already retired overseas whose pensions have been frozen. Now that there appears to be an economic case for righting that historic wrong, will he undertake to reconsider the question so that those who retire overseas can enjoy the fruits of their work in this country?

I have indeed read that report, which I think is flawed on a number of grounds. To give an example, it assumes that if we uprate pensions, far more people will emigrate, and it counts savings from health and social care that might not materialise for 15 to 20 years while counting the costs up front. Our colleagues in the Treasury are not so far seeking policies with large costs for the current comprehensive spending review period that will give savings in 2030.