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Court to decide on expat pensions

The European Court of Human Rights will today decide whether the pensions of thousands of Britons who retire abroad should increase with inflation.

A group of 13 pensioners living in countries including Australia and Canada are calling for the UK Government to change its pensions policy.

Currently, inflation proofing only applies to UK pensioners who live in the European Economic Area or in 15 other countries.

The two-hour hearing will be the latest stage in a long-running legal challenge and the end of the line in the legal process.

The pensioners claim the UK’s rules unfairly discriminate against them, and nearly half a million other expatriate UK pensioners, in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Age Concern head of public policy Andrew Harrop says: “It is hugely unfair that pensioners who have made their National Insurance contributions all their lives in the UK are being penalised for retiring abroad and losing out on the uprating of their pension.

“We hope the case today will see an end to this inequality and ensure the Government gives every pensioner their fair share, no matter where they decide to retire.”

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An Inland Revenue press release in December 2002 outlined the aims of the Labour Government’s pension simplification proposals. It said the aims were “to increase individual choice and flexibility and reduce administrative burdens, thereby making it easier and more efficient to save in pensions. The new single, unified regime will comprise transparent, simple and consistent rules that help people make informed decisions about working and saving for retirement.” Three years on from A-Day, words like unified, simple and consistent no longer seem fitting.

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Comments

There are 2 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Unfair publicity to illustrate unfair treatment
    State pensions for Brits abroad
    I have been following the coverage of this news and find that the BBC and Guardian have illustrated the pensioners’ problems with scenes of sunshine and old people relaxing on a beach. As a pensioner who lived in inland New South Wales for thirteen years with a frozen pension, I can assure all readers that the climate in Australia can be extremely uncomfortable and, by the way, there are not many sunny beaches in Canada! This background rubbish is nasty and misleading – probably on purpose. It undermines the case for the pensioners, many of whom are old, frail and only paid a fraction of the state pension they insured for. While they were young and paying their National Insurance contributions while working, they were bank-rolling the pensioners at that time. There IS enough money being paid into the National Insurance Fund regularly to cover the indexing of ALL pensioners, not only those who live in the USA or Europe, where, as a matter of interest, some of the beaches are beautiful and the sun shines too. Not relevant!

  2. Expat pensions should be paid in full
    No matter where you live in this World if you have paid into the system in full then you should certainly be entailed to receive a full pension from your investment.

    Why should anyone be victimized by living abroad, it’s totally and unjust is the current system.

    Signed Carl Barron Chairman of agpcuk

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