Brit expats face state pension slash should Brexit succeed

Published:  12 May at 6 PM
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UK expats settled in European hot spots could see their triple-locked state pension frozen pending negotiations with EU member states regarding the annual increase.

The present system permits British retirees living in European Economic Area (EEA) countries to receive annual pension increases related to either inflation or 2.5 per cent, whichever is greater. Should the UK leave the EU, pension payments are likely to be frozen at the current level due to the necessity of negotiating new agreements with individual countries.

Should such agreements not be forthcoming, individual retirees aged 65 would simply receive the present flat rate of £155.65 in perpetuity. Should the retiree live for another 20 years, he or she would lose pension increases worth an average of £50,000 over the term.

The UK government has little experience of such negotiations as its last deal of this type was made in 1981, with many believing the plight of expat pensioners won’t be at the top of its to-do list due to the costs of such agreements. The issue is due to be debated in the House of Commons next week, as so far the government has not made clear the possible effects of Brexit on expat retirees overseas.

In addition to the likely plight of expat pensioners living in EU and EEA member states, thousands more at present resident in a number of other countries could be affected. Bilateral agreements with states such as the Philippines, Israel, the USA, Barbados, Jamaica, Turkey and Bermuda are likely to need renegotiating as well.

Given the crucial importance of expats’ participation in the referendum, over half of those potentially affected have not yet registered to vote, according to a survey by the Electoral Commission. With the deadline for registration just four days away, campaigners from both sides of the argument and all British political parties are urging expats entitled to vote not to miss the chance of making their opinions known.
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