Brit pensioners in France hit hard by fallen pound

Published:  25 Dec at 6 PM
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Expats’ lives in France have been severely impacted by the shrinking value of sterling since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

The usual Christmas consumerfest is a fond memory for a good number of British expats in France now struggling to make ends meet due to the steep drop in the value of sterling. Over half a year into the negotiation process, there’s still no concrete indication as to UK expats’ rights after March 2019. However, the reality of the situation is that many British expats are now feeling the real effects of the Leave vote where it hurts most – in the pocket.

Pensioners and those living on UK-based investment returns are the worst hit, with one retired civil servant and her partner living in the Dordogne saying she’s experienced an aggregate fall in pension income of around 22 per cent, forcing unwelcome lifestyle changes. The couple have cut down on socialising and going out for meals and are trapped in constant worry about paying their bills.

The couple also run a charity dedicated to helping the vulnerable including refugees, and are unable now to visit family and friends in the UK as they can’t afford the costs involved. They’ve considered going back to the UK as they’re concerned about post-Brexit healthcare provisions, but they’re certain they’d hate the move. Other expats are examining the possibility of taking part-time employment, but for most it would mean a change in healthcare costs, negating any money earned.

Contrary to popular conceptions that all Britons in France are wealthy, the vast majority are now only just ‘getting by’. Although most were aware of the risks of currency fluctuations on pensions paid in sterling, it’s not the first time the pound and euro have been close to parity over the past decades. A genuine cause for frustration amongst long-stay pensioners is that they couldn’t even vote to stay in their chosen country due to the hated 15-year disenfranchisement rule.
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