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Campaigners urged to report on expat pension policy
25.10.2013

Campaigners who oppose imminent UK legislation that will ‘freeze’ expatriates’ pension allowances, have been asked to submit a report just days before it could be written into the Pensions Bills, ft.com reports.

Following a meeting with British Prime Minister, David Cameron, members of the International Consortium of British Pensioners were asked to supply information pertaining to the potentially damaging effects of the new policy.

The UK government has been planning to introduce a ruling whereby British expats would not receive inflation-linked rises to their state pensions, should they retire overseas. That’s regardless of the fact they’ve paid National Insurance contributions for many years.

This could leave around 565,000 British expat pensioners in 120 countries significantly out of pocket.

Furthermore, a study by foreign exchange firm, HiFX has suggested that the weakened pound has led to pension losses due to poor exchange rates, moneyfacts.co.uk writes.

However, the request for a report has been viewed as a positive step to blocking the policy. The campaign has been further bolstered with support from several Conservative Party MPs that similarly oppose the idea.

Conversely, British expats living in 16 countries within the EU and US – where reciprocal agreements have been signed – are in receipt of ‘pension uprating’.

The obstacle preventing the government from rolling this out worldwide, naturally, is the estimated £655 annual cost. This, though, is an excuse that’s simply unacceptable, according to Tory MP and campaigner, Sir Peter Bottomley.

He said: “People in government say the policy would cost too much money, but I don’t believe this is a strong argument.

“People living in many of these countries are saving the taxpayer as they don’t cost the NHS in medical treatment, for example. There is no rationale for uprating some overseas countries and not others. This is discrimination.”

The bill will be debated in parliament on 29 October.


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