Call to stop £410m of pensions going abroad

Ministers are looking to curb the number of people living abroad who are able to claim UK state pensions through their British spouses.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb. Picture: PA
Pensions Minister Steve Webb. Picture: PA

UK Pensions Minister Steve Webb said there were 220,000 people living outside the UK who received some form of state pension based solely on their spouse’s British work history, at a cost of £410 million-a-year to the taxpayer.

In an interview he told a newspaper that the Pensions Bill, to be announced in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday, would stop new claims of this kind. Existing pensioners will be unaffected.

“Most people would think, you pay national insurance, you get a pension. But folk who have never been here but happen to be married to someone who has are getting pensions,” he said.

“Women married to British men, we are getting more of them claiming a pension based on his record. In some cases, they have never set foot in Britain at all.”