With the compliments of British Age Pensioner Alliance

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Note: the numbers in tables in this file are not updated regularly. But the arguments are still just as valid as on the day the tables were created.

Highlights in this section - click your pick

Government Actuary's report '06
Loss of Income to the Australian Economy
The cost of uprating frozen pensions
British State Pension rate history 
National Health savings  
National Insurance Fund surplus
Countries most affected
Rights denied in these Commonwealth countries

Britain first froze the pensions of overseas residents in the early 1950s. At that time they may have been some excuse as the British economy was in dire straights in the years following WW II and there were very strict controls on the movement of Sterling out of the country.

Since then there have been many changes.  Britain now has one of the strongest economies in the world, yet pays its elderly one of the lowest retirement pension rates of all the developed countries.

Though the Governments of some of the stronger countries, such as the European Union and the USA, have managed to persuade Britain to upgrade pensions paid to its residents in their countries, pensions paid to Britons resident in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, another 43 Commonwealth countries and certain other countries remain frozen at the date they first either emigrated as pensioners or became eligible after emigration.

The following table indicates the growth of the basic pension, year by year since 1948, paid to a single person after a full working life making compulsory contributions every week for upwards of 40 years.  Being contributory this pension is not means tested.

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British State Pension Rate History
showing rate changes for the 96% of British pensioners who
enjoy annual indexation

Most pensioners in old loyal Commonwealth countries have their pensions frozen, while pensioners living in USA (for example) have theirs indexed each year.

(Basis: Basic pension, weekly)
The basic British Retirement, or Age, Pension is awarded in direct proportion to the number of contributions made to the National Insurance Fund. 40 years of contributions earns the full pension. 11 years for a man, or 10 for a woman, earn a 25% pension.

As from April 2010, new pensioners reaching pension age will receive 100% basic pension if they have paid contributions for 30 years or more. The minimum 11 or 10 years will no longer apply, and the basic pension will be 1/30th of the standard rate for each qualifying year.

Weekly Basic Pension







Prior to 1948 £0.50 1983 £34.05 2007 £87.30
1948 £1.30 1984 £35.80 2008 £90.70
1951 £1.50 1985




1952 £1.62 1986 £38.70 2010 £97.65
1955 £2.00 1987 £39.50 2011 £102.15
1958 £2.50 1988 £41.15 2012 £107.45
1961 £2.88 1989 £43.60    
1963 £3.38 1990 £46.90    
1965 £4.00 1991 £52.00    
1967 £4.50 1992 £54.15    
1969 £5.00 1993 £56.10    
1971 £6.00 1994 £57.60    
1972 £6.75 1995 £58.85    
1973 £7.75 1996 £61.15    
1974 £10.00 1997 £62.45    
Apr. 1975 £11.60 1998 £64.70    
Nov. 1975 £13.30 1999 £66.75    
1976 £15.30 2000 £67.50    
1977 £17.50 2001 £72.50    
1978 £19.50 2002


1979 £23.30 2003 £77.45    
1980 £27.15 2004 £79.60    
1981 £29.60 2005 £82.05    
1982 £32.85 2006 £84.25    

Note: Pensions are usually uprated in April of each year. The rates noted above are for individuals with full pension entitlement and are for a weekly benefit.  The Australian dollar equivalent varies with the exchange rate. 

By ending this shameful pension discrimination, the British Government would display the integrity its citizens expect, enable pensioners to afford the personal care and standard of living required in their retirement years, help return some degree of pride to the lives of pensioners, and bring Britain in line with all other developed countries!

The British Government claims that it would cost £650 million a year to update the pensions of the 556,000 Britons affected by their present policy.

They go on to say that their priority is to find more money for the poor in Britain and not for those who to choose to live overseas. A recent study by a think-tank says that if they means tested the many freebies paid to both rich and poor pensioners were subject to a means test they could save more than twice this amount.

They also take no account of the Billion pounds a year they save on the National Health Service  and they take no account of the mounting surplus in the National Insurance Fund, which is the fund that pays all our pensions.

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National Health Savings

In a letter dated 15th May 2001 to the World Alliance of British Expatriate Pensioners, a spokesperson for the International Branch of the British Department of Health wrote as follows:

"Thank you for your letter of 10 April, asking for an approximate cost of savings to this Department (of Health) in respect of benefits not claimed by pensioners overseas."

"In relation to healthcare, the Department produces an annual average cost figure for EU (European Union) purposes. "

"For 1998, the latest year available, the annual cost per pensioner was £1546."

There are 766,000 such pensioners overseas, the annual saving to the British Budget on this account alone is therefore in excess of:

£1 BILLION every year !

The equivalent of a saving of $A2,700,000,000 to the British exchequer every year.  Simply because Britons overseas cannot claim their National Health Service entitlements.

This alone would be far more than enough to cover the cost of indexing the pensions of all Britons, World wide.

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National Insurance Fund Surplus

From the UK Government Actuaries Report at the link below (specifically appendix 8): 
In 2001/2002   the revenue from National Insurance contributions was forecast at
£57.9 Billion.  The forecast expenditure was £55.5 Billion. 

The report also says, in para. 4, that the balance in the fund at the 31st March 2003 is estimated at £27,577 Million. 

And they say they cannot afford a measly £400 Million !!

Whitaker's Almanac

Whitaker's Almanac is a well respected and reliable source of information of all kinds, including information on aspects of Government.

Whitaker's publishes a table of the National Insurance Fund surplus, from which the following is an extract:

They could not explain the missing year.

Account Year Year Published End of year surplus Australian Dollars
1996 1998 £7.8 Billion $21.7 Billion
1997 1999 £7.7 Billion $21.4 Billion
1999 2000 £12.25 Billion $34.0 Billion
2000 2001 £12.2 Billion $33.9 Billion

The figures speak for themselves!
Since 2000 the surplus has continued to increase at the rate of about
£2.5 Billion a year!!

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Countries most affected

Frozen pensioners represent just over 4% of the total number of UK pensioners
and 98% of Frozen Pensioners live in Commonwealth Countries !
Figures updated, 2011


251,370 with pensions frozen


156,740 with pensions frozen

New Zealand

53,540 with pensions frozen

South Africa

38,110 with pensions frozen


1,440 with pensions frozen


4,360 with pensions frozen


2,250 with pensions frozen


5,130 with pensions frozen


1,430 with pensions frozen

St Lucia

1,270 with pensions frozen


960 with pensions frozen


1,590 with pensions frozen


 740 with pensions frozen

Total number of frozen pensioners, world-wide

555,920 out of  12,697,310 pensioners

Of the 54 Commonwealth Countries only five, apart from the UK, have British pensions indexed:- Barbados - Cyprus - Jamaica - Malta & Mauritius.

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Britain denies full pension rights in these Commonwealth Countries:

Antigua & Barbuda Nauru
Australia New Zealand
Bahamas Nigeria
Bangladesh Pakistan
Belize Papua New Guinea
Botswana Samoa
Brunei Darussalam Seychelles
Cameroon Sierra Leone
Canada Singapore
Dominica Solomon Islands
Fiji Islands South Africa
The Gambia Sri Lanka
Ghana St Vincent & Grenadines
Grenada St Kitts & Nevis
Guyana St Lucia
India Swaziland
Kenya Tanzania
Kiribati Tonga
Lesotho Trinidad & Tobago
Malawi Tuvalu
Malaysia Uganda
Maldives Vanuatu
Mozambique Zambia
Namibia Zimbabwe

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The cost of uprating Frozen pensioners

Getting things into perspective
Some comparisons to think about

Social Security total expenditure  2001/2           (latest available) £106 Billion
Retirement Pensions expenditure 2001/2 £45.7 Billion
Annual cost of restoring our expropriated uprating £0.4 Billion
DWP 2003 spend on outside consultants £0.4 Billion
INLAND REVENUE write-off of unpaid NI contributions £0.75 Billion
TREASURY planned baby bond vouchers £1.0 Billion
INLAND REVENUE tax credits paid in error £2.0 Billion
DWP loss through ‘fraud and error’ (NAO report) £3.0 Billion
TREASURY windfall from higher oil prices £3.0 Billion
DWP annual benefits’ blunders (public spending watchdog report) £7.0 Billion
Current surplus in the NIF £27.0 Billion

 Since the year 2000 the NIF surplus has been increasing at about £2.5 Billion a year

To put it into perspective, the entitlement of which we are deprived, in order, we are told, to improve living standards at home, would buy for each pensioner a bunch of bananas a week.

However our entitlement would deprive them of nothing - because the annual increase in the surplus alone is 6 times the annual cost of granting parity to all British pensioners.

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Loss of input to the Australian Economy
due to Britain’s policy of denying indexation to British State Retirement pensioners resident in Australia.
In the year 2000, when the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting took place in Queensland we obtained from Centrelink the “Country of Birth” figures for British born residents in each Australian State or Territory.
Britain claims that the annual cost of granting full indexation to British pensioners in around the World would be about £400 Million.  That is about $940 Million at current exchange rates.  About 50% of that would come to Australia.
If we assume that the distribution of British pensioners is about the same as the distribution of British born Australian residents then it becomes possible to estimate the effect on the economy of each State and Territory of Britain’s non indexation policy.
Australian Capital Territory A$5,000,000
New South Wales  A$119,000,000
Northern Territory  A$1,000,000
Queensland A79,000,000
South Australia  A$68,000,000
Tasmania A$12,000,000
Victoria  A$101,000,000
Western Australia  A$77,000,000
International Operations Branch or unknown State etc . A$7,000,000
These are estimates of the loss to the economy in each State or Territory, each and every year, due to Britain’s policy of not indexing the pensions of their State pensioners if they choose to live in Australia ­ despite the fact that they have paid mandatory contributions to the British National Insurance Fund throughout their working lives.
In addition the Federal Government subsidises the pensions of all British pensioners to the extent of about $100,000,000 a year when the value of their pensions drops to a level which entitles them to a part Australian means tested pension.

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