Monday, 22 February 2010

QROPS Advice: Expats Plight

BRITONS struggling to live abroad on pensions as low as £6 a week want their desperate plight to become an election issue.

Of the 1.1 million expats entitled to draw UK pensions, 540,000 are denied their full allowance because of archaic rules.

They have their pensions index linked in all EU countries and in 15 others, including Barbados, the United States and Bermuda.

However, there are more than 150 other countries where they have had their pensions fixed at the rate at which they were first drawn in their new country of residence. Many are being forced to return to Britain.

Labour says it cannot afford the £540million needed to increase the frozen pensions, even though the sum is less than one per cent of the country’s pension fund.

Campaigner John Markham, 76, of the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, is visiting Britain to meet officials of all political parties. He said: “In the last general election the expat vote was 10,400, but there will be many more eligible to vote this time around. We want to get Britons living abroad to vote, but only for the parties that support our cause.”

Annette Carson, 67, who emigrated to South Africa just before drawing a pension at 60, is taking the Government to court, backed by 13 others in a similar plight. A judgment is expected in a few weeks.