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March 17, 2010

Pension plight unrelieved for British ex-pats

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by Gill Montia

Pension plight unrelieved for British ex-pats

Retired Britons who have chosen to live abroad have been dealt a blow by the European Court of Human Rights.

Following a lengthy legal battle, the Court’s Grand Chamber has decided against forcing the UK government to pay annual state pension increases to some Britons who are now domiciled overseas, despite their having paid qualifying levels of National Insurance contributions.

There are currently around 150 countries where the UK state pension is not subject to an annual increase, and the decision means that around 500,000 older ex-pats will only receive the level of pension paid at their retirement.

The National Pensioners’ Convention is horrified at the outcome.

The body’s general secretary, Dot Gibson, says: “It is shameful and morally unjust that you can pay a lifetime into the state pension system but the Government doesn’t have to increase that pension every year if you retire to Canada – but they will if you live in America.”

Adding: “It makes no sense at all and will be seen by many as an affront to natural justice.”

The estimated cost of increasing pensions for those in excluded countries is currently £540 million a year.

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