Pensioner rights and fights

What the rise of £289 in state pensions means

WHILE the dust of the Brexit result settles, but no one knows where, the issue of pensions will be uppermost in many people’s minds and if not now, they will be eventually.

Those within what is known as the European Economic Area (EEA), which includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, have always received an annual increase in their UK state pension.

The figures for the number of Britons of state pension age living abroad are large: more than 65,000 in France, 42,000 in Germany, 135,000 in the Irish Republic and around 108,000 in Spain.

But what will happen in the aftermath of the Brexit vote? Those pensioners outside the EEA have historically had their pensions frozen.

One man fighting to overturn this policy and fighting for the currently uncertain future of UK pensioners in Spain, is Canada-based Nigel Nelson.

He is a volunteer with the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, headed by the chair of the group, David Morris.

He says: “It is our goal to remove the frozen pension policy once and for all, thereby helping all overseas state pensioners.

“We encourage every UK pensioner living in an EU country to join us in this battle.”

The group hope that by joining together in the umbrella organisation, the International Consortium of British Pensioners (ICBP), the UK government “will not be able to ignore the new frozen pensioners in the EEA.”

For Nigel Nelson the choice is a blunt one. “Many of these pensioners may not be able to afford to live in their country of choice and they may be forced to return home.”

Having made a life, and a long life, in Spain over so many years, for many pensioners the thought of having to return to the UK in the aftermath of what might come out of Article 50, will be a far from welcome prospect. 

The strain it would place on the NHS, social housing and other social benefits, should not be underestimated by politicians. 

“Every overseas state pensioner saves the UK government on average about £1,575 per year because of the NHS and benefit savings,” said Nelson. 

In the present uncertain climate, no one can predict what terms the UK government might negotiate when it comes to UK state pensions currently being paid in Europe.

But, he says: “Anything negotiated as part of Brexit may set a precedent for the ‘frozen’ pensioners living elsewhere in the world.”

If you want to join the fight to stay ‘unfrozen’ you can contact Nigel Nelson at the International Consortium of British Pensioners at [email protected]

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    • ray-pc

      30 September 2016 • 18:47

      Hi i give my wholehearted support to this effort.

    • RobtheFox

      01 October 2016 • 17:03

      Think it should be pointed out that index linked pensions are also paid in some fourteen non EEA countries, for example, the USA, Macedonia and the Philippines.
      Secondly, can Nelson confirm that the figure of £1,575 is an officially agreed figure as to the UK savings per pensioner living overseas per year, or is it just his personal estimate? I do not recall seeing it being quoted by the ICBP or CABP but one significantly researched and somewhat higher.
      Is he speaking on behalf of either of those organisations or purely from a personal perspective?

      • Nigel Nelson

        15 October 2020 • 00:59

        When looking at the numbers in the ICBP proposal, The Office of Budget Responsibility said that the average saving per pensioners was “nearer to £1,500”, so I am happy using the number that I can document back to Government numbers. Sadly, because the 2015-2020 Conservative hit the gray hairs with higher taxes, that number is now less than £1,000 per pensioner – I calculated it a couple of months ago and it came out at £980. Sorry that it has taken me 4 years to answer!

    • Mike Darbon

      02 October 2016 • 07:09

      It is a pity that those facing potentially frozen pensions now were not more supportive of the 500,000 existing sufferers who have been fighting for a very long time.
      Perhaps then none of us would be in our current positions.


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