Campaigners say around half a million pensioners miss out on annual increases to their pensions because they live in countries where there is no reciprocal deal with the UK.
The vast majority of people with “frozen” are understood to live in Commonwealth countries and there is deep concern that inflation and healthcare costs are pushing people who saved throughout their working lives into poverty.
But British citizens living abroad have now won new electoral clout with the granting of “votes for life” and the scrapping of the 15-year limit on voting rights.
John Duffy, who chairs the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), told the Prime Minister in a letter that some pensioners receive “as little as £20 a week”.
Pushing for the Conservative party to “pledge to finally rectify this injustice,” he said: “Over half a million votes could rest on this position and this will be hugely important to the decisions of our overseas voters.”
There is frustration that while pensioners living in the United States benefit from a deal that results in them enjoying pension increases there is no such arrangement for those who have settled in Canada.
Fiona MacLeod, a board member of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, said: “After moving from Scotland to Canada, and spending years campaigning for the end of this discriminatory policy, I am disappointed at the lack of engagement with the issue by the UK Government. We feel we are being treated like second class citizens and are saddened by the continuation of this policy.
“Now the Government has given Brits living overseas the right of a vote for life, surely the next logical step is to treat all British pensioners living overseas equally, and uprate all UK state pensions, no matter if they live in Canada or the US.”
Mr Duffy said: “This policy continues to be completely morally indefensible. Giving British pensioners living overseas a vote for life, whilst simultaneously denying nearly half of them a fully uprated UK state pension is a gross injustice.”
“I look forward to hearing the Government’s position on this matter and I hope they make the decision to finally put an end to a policy that leaves many British pensioners facing a retirement of financial hardship. We all contributed equally to our pensions and it is only fair that we receive the benefit equally.”
Sir Roger Gale, the Conservative chairman of the all-party group on “frozen British pensions,” said: “We ought to be up-rating pensions. It simply, for me, a no-brainer; it’s just something that we honourably ought to be doing and aren’t.”
A DWP spokesperson said: “We understand that people move abroad for many reasons and that this can impact on their finances. There is information on gov.uk about what the effect of going abroad will be on entitlement to the UK State Pension.”
“The Government’s policy on the uprating of the UK State Pension for recipients living overseas is a longstanding one of more than 70 years and we continue to uprate state pensions overseas where there is a legal requirement to do so.”