Shrinking sterling hitting hard on UK state pensioners in Europe

Published:  1 Nov at 6 PM
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Retired British expatriates living in a wide selection of EU member states have seen their lifestyles reversed due to the effect of Brexit on the sterling exchange rate.

The UK state pension and many other occupational pensions are paid in sterling, leaving expat recipients to cut back as best they can during an exchange rate cut. During a meeting of the Lords EU Justice Sub-Committee, retired lawyer Jeremy Morgan QC – an expat himself – pointed out the plight of British expats living in Europe, adding the threat of losing the annual cost of living increases in the event of a no deal Brexit is causing even more fear amongst retirees.

Morgan insisted there is now real hardship amongst UK expat retirees, whilst the impression of their lives overseas continues to be that of sitting on a terrace in warm sunshine sipping a cocktail. Retired expats, he said, made sensible, rational decisions to move abroad in order to stretch their pension payments further than they could in the UK, and are now suffering hardship as a result. They cannot, he added, just watch whilst their country of birth washes its hands of them and goes ahead with Brexit without any guarantee of their rights.

As regards free healthcare, he stated that, should the government guarantee to cover overseas costs for British pensioners, the total estimated amount would be approximately half the cost to the NHS should they be forced to repatriate in order to use its services. In addition, those with critical conditions would have to wait six months before being allowed to receive NHS care, during which time their conditions would have worsened and a number might well have died. The Lords committee is investigating the post-Brexit rights of both UK citizens living in Europe and EU citizens living in the UK.
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