Cliff edge Brexit to be poison for private pension payments

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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International lawyers believe Britain’s leaving the UK without a deal or transition period could spell disaster for UK retirees in France receiving personal pensions.

Long-term expat retirees living in France and other EU member states are likely to be hit with the double whammy of being unable to access their personal pension payments as well as not having been able to vote Remain in the Brexit referendum. Negotiations so far seem to have gone from bad to worse, with the ‘cliff-edge’ scenario creeping closer day by day. The predicted loss of all fundamental freedoms is bad enough, but the loss of a hard-won personal pension is the worst insult of all to retired Brits who’ve spent their working lives propping up the state with their talents and taxes.

With the so-called Brexit negotiating team impersonating lemmings lining up to take a long walk off a short pier, the irony of not being allowed to vote on an issue on which their lives depended is hitting hard on long-stay Brits in the EU. Many are just waking up to the fact that freedom of movement doesn’t just involve human beings, it also involves capital. The post-Brexit demise of the much-discussed ‘passporting rights’ won’t just spur a mass exodus of financial professionals, it’ll also mean a complete loss of legal access to personal, private pension funds for expats who’ve actually managed to stay overseas.

Optimistic projections state a last-minute solution is likely to be found, adding that even if the miracle doesn’t happen pensions can be paid into UK bank accounts, then transferred to EU banks. That’s if pensioners’ UK accounts haven’t already been closed by high street banks using the justification ‘we’re UK banks serving citizens in the UK’. Just think, if all long-stay UK expatriate pensioners had been able to vote in the referendum, the post-vote sterling crash wouldn’t have cut UK expats' state pensions by 13-15 per cent and those who’d had the common sense to retire to EU countries would be able to stay in their chosen destinations.
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