Annual state pension increases for expats living in Europe will only be guaranteed for the next three years, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) confirmed plans to annually increase the pension benefit to UK expats until March 2023.

Over the next three years, the Government hopes to renegotiate the existing uprating agreement to ensure it continues beyond this point.

Amber Rudd, work and pensions secretary, said:

"This will reassure hundreds of thousands of people living in the EU that their UK state pensions will continue to rise significantly each year, however we leave [the EU]."

However, one of Rudd's predecessors as pension secretary argued it would have the opposite effect and labelled the announcement as "deeply worrying".

With pensioners being retired for potentially up to 30 years, the lack of annual inflation protection could affect their quality of life if no agreement is reached.

Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said:

"British pensioners living in the EU have received repeated assurances that their [state] pensions would be increased each year, regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

"If the UK leaves the EU on bad terms, there is no guarantee a new uprating arrangement will be reached, and this statement offers no assurance to pensioners that annual increases will continue after that point."

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