UK Pensions Ranked One of Lowest in World Sparking Debate from Expats

UK Pensions Ranked One of Lowest in World Sparking Debate from Expats. Image: Wikimedia

THE UK’s pensions have been ranked showing that UK pensioners see some of the highest levels of poverty in the world, sparking debate from expats about whether the UK state pension is enough to live on in Spain.

Following the news that the UK has some of the highest levels of pensioner poverty, expats in Spain have been debating whether a state pension is enough to live on.

According to the Express newspaper, the UK government produced a briefing paper showing how prevalent “pensioner poverty” is across the EU and Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) countries.

Roderick McInnes, the report’s writer, said: “The OECD uses a common set of statistical conventions to measure incomes consistently across countries to determine the proportion of the pensioner population in each country living in relative income poverty (defined as having incomes less than 50 percent of the median).

“The proportion of people aged 66 and over living in relative income poverty varies widely.

“In the UK it was 14.9 per cent in 2018, the 13th highest out of the 33 OECD countries for which data is available for 2016-2018.”

The data showed that UK pensioner property rates were 12.9 per cent for those aged 66 to 75, with those aged over 76 age seeing poverty rates rise to 17.8 per cent.

The news has sparked debate among British expats about whether the average UK state pension of £137.60 (€157.81) a week is enough to live on in Spain.

One reader said: “I think the pension amount it definitely not enough to live on when you take into account bills, rent and other expenses.”

However, other expats said they were pleased with the amount they receive.

One said: “I paid in for so little time that mine just about pays the phone bill.  I am grateful for it all the same but that is why I still work.”

Another said: “I receive around £900 (€1032.16) a month.

“As a pensioner I am more than happy with the latest increase and the fact that after contributing for more than 40 years I can still receive my UK pension in Spain.”


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Written by

Sally Underwood

Sally Underwood is a former aide to several former cabinet members and now contributes her views on Parliament’s ever-changing shape in her column for the Euro Weekly News.


    • William Beaumont

      28 April 2021 • 09:46

      I am an 84y ex RAF servicemen from 1952 with 15 years service to my country. Before April 2020 I received the adult dependency allowance of £70/week for my married wife making my UK State pension (SP) £206/week. On April 2020 that allowance was deducted from my pension and I now receive the full UK state Pension of £141 per week for my wife and I. Out of this we have lost on the exchange rate, have to pay bank charges because the UK SP cannot meet the minimum monthly euro input of €800. pay for yearly debit cards at €40, tri- monthly bank charges are €40. We then have to pay IBI , rubbish and water and pay gestoria fees to complete the Tax return €80/y, paid €92 to get the driving license changed to Spanish and later pay to get the TIE card. I have been told that my younger wife must apply for a work permit or return to the UK. NOW IF WE DID then we are hit by the MIXED AGE RULING OF 15/5/2020 where we are both put on Universal Credit as WORKING CLASS PEOPLE and the pensioner cannot claim social assistance or pension credit and all the went with it like free TV. The UK do not look after those who served their country during the cold war leaving veterans on the lowest poverty line.


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