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Should expats receive a UK pension?

13:43 UK time, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

More than half a million UK pensioners living overseas will continue to have their pensions frozen after a European court decision. What is your reaction?

Pensioners who moved to countries such as Australia and Canada only receive the level of pension paid at retirement - which might be only £6 per week. Expat campaigners want their UK state pensions to rise in line with inflation each year.

The decision has saved at least £500m a year for the government, which said that its first responsibility was with pensioners living in the UK.

Are you an expat pensioner affected by this ruling? Do you agree with the court's decision? Should pensioners who move abroad receive British pensions payments?


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  • Comment number 1.

    I agree with the ruling. If you leave the country why should we continue to support you? You no longer contribute to the economy. You receive what you were entitled to when you left.

    You can't have it all!

  • Comment number 2.

    Of course they should.

    They've paid in like everyone else and they're not going to be given a pension in their adopted countries where they haven't contributed.

    Why is it that this government has to try to cheat everyone, even the elderly?

  • Comment number 3.

    Why not, people coming into this country just before pensionable age get it.

  • Comment number 4.

    Expats have chosen to stop contributing to the UK tax system via VAT, council tax, 5% on their gas and electricity costs, stamp duty, insurance tax, airport departure tax, income tax, etc etc.

    The people who stay here pay something back to the system, week after week, in return for their pension, via some or all of these taxes.

    It's fair that there should be a penalty attaching to expats, given they are choosing to opt out of paying UK taxes by leaving the UK.

  • Comment number 5.

    Yes - they paid the same as the pensioners who stay at home.

  • Comment number 6.

    So, the government claims that its "first responsibility was with pensioners living in the UK"?

    Would this explain why the government is prepares to let tens of thousands of elderly and frail pensioners die each winter, whilst still giving away billions of pounds in foreign aid (over £8bn in the past 8 years to India alone, which has a space programme, and is planning a manned space flight soon at a cost of £7.8bn.... hmm... I wonder where their foreign aid was spent!!)

    Anyway, the point of my rant is to say that the government has NEVER put British pensioners first. They are left to rot, whilst the government plunders the pension fund to finance their programme of undemocratic social engineering.

  • Comment number 7.

    They paid in for their pension.
    They should get in full where ever they are.
    It would also be of environmental benefit if they, and others (myself included) who can emigrate do so.
    Only downsides, tax footprint reduced and balance of payments made worse.

  • Comment number 8.

    There can't be many expats on a pension of £6 a week, I think that's a bit of sensationalism.

    I realise that the expats have paid tax in the UK at some point, but they no longer pay VAT to the exchequer on purchases, and no longer feed money into the British economy. In many cases they enjoy a significantly lower cost of living. I hardly think it's fair for them to have the same level of pension as UK residents.

  • Comment number 9.

    If they have paid into the NI system then they are entitled to a pension. Consider how many in this country are on benefits whilst fit to work to which they have contributed nothing. These are the real burden on the state, not those who paid in all their lives.

  • Comment number 10.

    Surely if they've paid in enough contributions they should be entitled to the pension?

    Anything else is just the government cynically moving the goal posts and breaking the promises that were made to these pensioners during their working lives.

  • Comment number 11.

    Just because successive governments have raided and squandered the "pension pot" that should have been built up from the contributions of people working for many years does not been it should be allowed to now pretend it can't afford to pay them an amount that reflects their investment. Yes, pensioners should receive their fair and equal share regardless of where they are geographically - they have already paid their dues and their choice of where to live should have no bearing on what they take out.

  • Comment number 12.

    Thair pension should be related to the amount thay have paid into the system. Where thay live hs no bearing on this.

  • Comment number 13.

    So - this is "human rights". My husband and I paid into the British system for all our working lives. We moved to Canada to be near our only son. We do not use any British services (health, social, etc.) yet we are penalised. Has the British government considered this? I wonder.... has anyone worked out the cost to the British government if all expat pensioners moved back to the UK? Of course that would only be ones from Commonwealth countries that are so penalised. If we were to move 30 miles south into USA or went to Outer Mongolia our pensions would not be frozen. Thank goodness we now live in a country that respects human rights.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    What another scam were the average Joe has lost out!
    I started work at 16 and worked in the UK system and paid taxes and contributions for 51yrs. I have full pension entitlement at the age of 51yrs, I then left the UK to live in Canada and my pension is frozen at whatever rate it is when I retire at 65yrs.
    I have made 35yrs of contributions but still get wacked with this ruling!
    Government trying to rob peoples pensions again to save cash!

  • Comment number 16.

    4. At 2:26pm on 16 Mar 2010, Colin100 wrote:

    "Expats have chosen to stop contributing to the UK tax system via VAT, council tax, 5% on their gas and electricity costs, stamp duty, insurance tax, airport departure tax, income tax, etc etc."

    True, but I was born here, expect to live my life here, paying tax and NI for my current benefits and future state pension. If I decide to retire to a warmer climate, who are you to tell me I forfeit the benefits of the same amount of state pension as UK residents both of whom have paid all their life toward?

  • Comment number 17.

    thet deserted the country so do not deserve pension from the uk

  • Comment number 18.

    item 3 Wardonia
    Exactly people coming into the UK get it !
    No matter what age they are !
    Thats discrimination , people leaving the country get treated diffently to people coming in, England is a complete and utter joke really is.

  • Comment number 19.

    i agree with the ruling and the next step should be to stop the winter fuel allowance for those living abroad

  • Comment number 20.

    I'm from the UK, retired and living in Canada. I receive only part of the British pension and part of the Canadian pension, which together do not amount to a full pension. Lots of countries have reciprocal pension agreements with Canada, which enables the country where one lives after retirement to make up pensions to the full amount, but the British government refuses to join the plan. In fact it would save them money as there are far less Canadians retired in UK than UK retirees in Canada.

  • Comment number 21.

    Individuals who contribute to the UK Exchequer the amount required to qualify for the State Pension, should receive their entitlement when it becomes due regardless of their home address. For any decision to be just, it must be based on what the individual has paid in and nothing else. If, after retirement overseas, an individual remains a citizen of the UK and pays UK tax, then he should be paid any pension increases. If he stops paying UK tax, then entitlement to increases should be removed. Keep it simple. If you pay in, you remain entitled; if not, then sorry - no deal.

  • Comment number 22.

    I agree with that pensioners only seem to count prior to elections and better provisions should be made in relation to pensions etc.
    But surely ex-pats shoulds be provided for by their country of residence.

  • Comment number 23.

    These people knew the rules when they left the country. It is a case of 'having your cake and eating it'. There are a lot of pensioners who have always lived/worked in this country who are on the breadline . My friends recent pension increase to the 'BASIC' pension is £2.54 a week. This is after her working for 50 years. These ex-pats say their return would put pressure on the Health Services etc. - Obviously they are not aware of what a rubbish deal the elderly receive in this country. - Let them come.

  • Comment number 24.

    Correct me if I'm wrong...

    1. They worked in UK
    2. They paid National Insurance Contributions to get their State Pension after retirement
    3. They've left UK after retirement
    4. They get no pension

    Hm, and where are their NI contributions now? Oh right - saved by the government!

  • Comment number 25.

    ....continue to support you....."

    Some of these people, are from a generation who gave of their sweat and labour and PAID into the system in order to receive their pension. Younger ones who left (for various reasons) will only receive a very small amount anyway.

    So, all that savings by freezing pensions......right! So if those same aging people were living in the UK, what else would the government have to pay out for them in health care, benefits, etc? I should think it's a HUGE saving to pay them their pension & not have them return.

    There are enough people receiving "support" who haven't paid a penny into the system, so lets not go there re: legitimate retirees who have chosen to live somewhere else.

  • Comment number 26.

    I might agree with #1 if this ruling applied to ALL ex pats. But it doesn't. There is postcode discrimination. How is that justified?

  • Comment number 27.

    When the government not only requires me to pay income tax but takes extra from both my wages and from my employer as "National Insurance" they allege that this is my contribution towards my entitlement to such as benefits and pensions. I am sure that all these ex-pat pensioners also paid their National Insurance in good faith... to not pay them the full pension is nothing short of fraud.

  • Comment number 28.

    So many here take the government line that expats never paid anything more in to the country after they left. Not entirely true, many expats pay tax in the UK on income from there.. but the argument immediately falls apart because:

    For some countries people moved to and the UK pays pensions at full rate there. Even ones the UK has been at war with, like Argentina.

    The Commonwealth countries, the so called friends of the UK are the very ones the UK dumps on. Canada, Australia etc.

    I live in Canada, and this comes up repeatedly as one more reason to dump the UK as the old commonwealth friend. There is no bond.

    The UK will support its pensioners who paid into a system for a lifetime in countries it goes to war with, but not those that it shares the commonwealth with.

    Further to the tax point, many pensioners staying in the UK never pay anymore tax when they retire as pensions are so low. So what extra are they paying in? But they still get a full pension.

    The UK wants it both ways. Which proves how wrong this is.

    They pay full pensions in some countries, just not those that used to be its friends.

    Dump the UK, the flag and the Monarchy. No argument ex UK pension money goes to pay for those parasites, but that's OK.... the people who paid for it all get nothing.

  • Comment number 29.

    item 2 chiptheduck
    Its not just the government thats screwing the pensioner.
    Look at the private Pensions and Insurance industry!
    Insurance industry scam no1) endowment policies scam, no2) company pensions, scam no3) unemployment insurance, need I say any more?

    Half of these contracts are not worth the paper there written on!
    They have more get out of jail cards than any card pack!
    The ordinary public have been conned for years, just thank god I sold my endowment policies and never entertained a private company pension.
    So I have to rely on the UK state pension as an ex UK citizen living in Canada, so for me with over 35yrs contributions this ruling is discriminatary.

  • Comment number 30.

    It isn't the fact that we want to have something we aren't entitled to.

    If we had chosen to move to the USA or the EU or 15 or so other countries we would get the increases in line with the UK but because we have moved to Canada or Australia we are being discriminated against.

    If I now move 200 miles south into the US will I get my pension increased in line with inflation?

  • Comment number 31.

    "As non-residents, the applicants did not contribute to the UK economy, in particular, they paid no UK tax to offset the cost of any increase in the pension," a statement from the court said.

    Unbelievable, somebody must be stealing £400 pounds plus every month from my private pension! It certainly arrives here in Turkey minus that amount and claims to be tax deductions. Are you sure I'm paying nothing?

  • Comment number 32.

    I live abroad for over 13 weeks a year after paying for my benefits for over 40 years. Therefore I have no right to the normal National Health service EVEN THOUGH I CONTINUE TO CONTRIBUTE through UK taxes that I still pay on my private pension income – my sole source of income as a 63 year old man. This is a triple-whammy of Government gain from me as an individual.
    1. As my health-related costs increase (exponentially?) with increasing age, the Government takes my money but gives me no benefit when I might most need it.
    2. It then taxes my only source of present income, my private pension and feeds its income into schemes from which I am debarred.
    3. It then skims the State pension, with both the Government and its legal advocates using such specious argument as beggars belief.
    Why? And how does it get away with it? ………. Simply because it CAN.
    British pensioners overseas are callously disregarded – no, discounted & dismissed - because they don’t influence the balance of power in key marginals.

    The present government has supplemented its stance of Power without Responsibility with an annex that applies to British subjects that chose to live overseas for more than 13 weeks a year; the annex reads - Power without Ethics.

    That is: Power without Responsibility
    and Power without Ethics

    Shame on ALL those of you that are part of this process.

  • Comment number 33.

    Expats have paid their taxes and are entitled to pension payments like anyone else.
    That they choose to live abroad is a saving to the state, as recurrent medical conditions are treated abroad, not in the UK, a saving for the NHS, they do not get free bus passes, a further saving.
    It is mealy-mouthed for the government of the day to say that their duty of care is to resident pensioners, it is to all nationals, who have paid their taxes. This present administration is only too quick to fork out monies to asylum seekers and other incomers, who bring nothing to the table, to support teenage single mothers, who have contributed nothing to society apart from a feckless lifestyle, BUT seeks to abrogate its responsibilities to others.

  • Comment number 34.

    While I am not a non-resident pensioner and am not affected by this ruling, I know many people who are and live in South Africa. Many of them contributed to the British economy for many years and still do and many of them served in WWII risking their lives to ensure there could be things like the European Court of Human Rights and a British Government. The British Government should at least consider the cases of pensioners who ensured that the British Government is British with these facts in mind. The British Government's refusal to act in a fair, sensible and proper manner is a disgrace..

  • Comment number 35.

    As long as they live in EU they should get it but if not lets look after the poor pensioners in this country first before rich ex-pats in non EU countrys

  • Comment number 36.

    The Government can't have it both ways, why are pensioners who retire to other
    EU countries getting their full entitlements whilst those who retire to the Common-
    wealth do not. This is grossly unfair! Pensioners who choose to go and live near
    their emigrated children are being discriminated against. Clearly politics and justice
    are being compromised. Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 37.

    No they shouldn't and they shouldn't be able to vote in UK elections either.

  • Comment number 38.

    You pay taxes all your life in a country.
    You move abroad: thus saving that country the cost of your healthcare, housing, protection etc. They should get MORE than UK pensioners.

  • Comment number 39.

    Well I worked in the UK for 25 years - contributed pension etc - I still have to pay tax in the UK and do so - never quibbled. Expats actually earn money for the UK - often working in International Companies and Organisations they fly the flag for Britain. Bring in huge amounts of revenue. But even at the low-income end - just think of English Teachers working abroad their impact is phenomenal in terms of English trade and business.

    For one moment think of the remittances the UK receives - yes there are tax havens whilst you are abroad - but the moment you hit the UK ergo when you retire - that money is up for Tax.

    The majority of pensioners will have private pensions or will be receiving a pension from previous overseas employers, government etc. What this does is upsets a whole raft of people who´ll decide not to retire in the UK. Another one of Brown´s amazingly short-sightedness.

    It is assumed there is a choice in being an expat - but one has to go where the work is - often without any notice at all. Yes some earn a deal of money the majority not - but there is a huge price they pay in terms of family, culture, etc.

    We´ve wanted to come home for years - but because the LEA considers my children as foreigners (with British passports - yes you go figure) they would have to go back a year educationally. No test from the LEA - it is automatic. They both achieved places in schools for scientifically talented children - so in reality are 2 years ahead of their peer group in the UK. Also they´d not have been able to attend local schools but would´ve had to be bussed across to another town. So we decided not.

    For 4 years the country I´m living in has offered me citizenship. We are an educated, middle-income family, tri-lingual, scientists, eldest son training to be a building engineer. A bargain truly, but what the heck if you want to become a haven for low-skilled bigots - who am I to criticise.

    I have to say, when I left, I never thought I´d receive a penny from the British Pension Scheme - it has to be one of the most badly administered in the World. But with the Brown - Darling twinstep in play that´s not going to change that quickly now is it. Roll on that huge deficit - yes debts all round.

  • Comment number 40.

    Serves them right in leaving the UK, I guess...
    I am happy to stay here as there's no place like home.

  • Comment number 41.

    It does seem unfair if those who've spent most of their lives building up the country after the war are short changed just because they want to move abroad to be with their family.

    After all did we not forcibly export over 100000 of our children to Australia and Canada and then have to import workers from other countries because we did not have enough.

    We have a large immigrant population and some of them have never contributed much but they have all the benefits that we do.

    It seems wrong then that we penalise our own people who when they went out of the country were probably well able to support themselves but with inflation over the years now find themselves struggling.

    It will cost much more if they return home and they have to be paid benefits and health costs.

  • Comment number 42.

    So the average hard working person gets screwed again, even if you have paid in your max years eg 30yrs of National Insurance contributions!
    But look at it this way you could have been a private sector worker that has worked for the same company for 35-40yrs. Paid into the company scheme and still receive nothing!My borther is in that position, all and I mean all of his pension contributions were lost when the company went bust and walked away from all of its obligations.
    Again the average person is fleeced by the system, if your honest and law abidding you get screwed.

  • Comment number 43.

    Of course they should get an up to date pension (providing they've contributed towards a pension in their working years). When they emigrated they had'nt died, so why should their pension rises stop. I bet politicians, councillors and bank bosses get theirs at current rates and on top of their private ill gotten pensions. If I could afford to, I wouldn't stop in this corrupt bastardised nation one minute longer. Britain is a country where the people that do all the right things get penalised. If you have pride in yourself and where you live you have to work beyond retirement age because it's impossible to keep your standards up and survive on the mingy state pension (the worst in Europe). If you do work, you get taxed on it even though it may only be a few bob. Then if you survive a little longer than you should and need care, they would make you homeless to pay for it. Whatsmore, the wealthy get wealthier at our expense and the government don't lift a finger to help, and why? Because they're in on all the scams and dodges to assett strip us and bleed us dry so we end up with nothing. Moral of the story is, if the individuals that fought for the good of this country in war and by hard work were, in their old age, treated properly and with dignity, they probably wouldn't have left in the first place. But then again, thanks to politicians, this country has been turned in to a dustbin, and who wants to live in a dustbin.

  • Comment number 44.

    What is unfair is this moving of the goal posts.

    The reasoning for the change is fairly sound in that the money paid to these pensioners is not going in to the UK ecconomy. Although it does not take account of savings in services, health care etc.

    But how can someone make a decision about how to spend their retirement when a pension or benefit they think they are going to get could be suddenly taken away because times are tough and all the other family silver (government assetts) has already been sold off.

    As usual with Labour there is some justification for what they are doing but they are doing it in an inhumane and ill considered way.

  • Comment number 45.

    OK, so they're not paying Council tax, VAT, fuel duty (plus 1001 other stealth taxes).

    But they're not expecting us to defend them, house them, sweep their streets, police their neighbourhood, put out their fires, pick up their garbage, pay for their healthcare or provide them with an old people's home - they get that for paying taxes in the country they've moved to (If it's provided)!

    NI contributions fund pensions (officially). They've paid, they should get!

  • Comment number 46.

    The government "said that its first responsibility was with pensioners living in the UK".

    So why has it refused to pay for the pensions of Equitable Life investors who lost out due to the failure of their regulators, despite being told to compensate them by the EU, the House of Lords, the High Court and the Parliamentary Ombudsman?

    Let's hope that the Tories get justice for those UK pensioners when they challenge the government in the Commons this afternoon!

  • Comment number 47.

    It won't be any cheaper if the Conservatives were in power.

  • Comment number 48.

    If they have contributed all their working lives like the rest of us they should be entitled to the full pension.
    Why it is this government always wants to give our money to people who have not contributed or others who decide not work but sponge off society.
    Why oh why do you always seem to side with the wrong people, what is it about decent hard working people you hate so much?

  • Comment number 49.

    If they've been forced to pay it all their working lives then yes they should receive it. People who've lived in council houses all their lives should not receive anything.

  • Comment number 50.

    These people payed into the system for all their working lives before leving these shores.
    So now it's their true right for the System even if they living in the UK or abroad to repay them what is owned

  • Comment number 51.

    Of course their pensions should not be frozen. They have earned their pension rights and should be able to take them wherever they wish, just as if they were savings.

    This is just one of the many unfair rules that have been invented by the UK Treasury over the years. The Treasury always seems to put the interests of tax payers above treating people fairly. If they can use a legal loophole to avoid paying out to people in desperate need, they will do so.

    On the other hand, if you are so wealthy that you hardly need help, for example you are a non dom or a senior bank official, you can expect generous treatment.

  • Comment number 52.

    Public sector final salary pensions need to be radically reformed.

    They shouldn't be paid out of General Taxation
    They should be made money purchase
    They should be cut by a third

  • Comment number 53.

    If a private pension company did that you could take them to court. Why should it be any different for the government?

  • Comment number 54.

    Immigrants, illegal or otherwise, take billions out of the economy and a lot have paid in nothing. I hope all the Expats vote out this incompetence of a Government, who say one thing publically then quietly introduce a stealth tax to claw all the money back. If it wasn't politics it would be criminal

  • Comment number 55.

    Surely they should get what they are entitled to i.e. what they've paid in for ? Many have worked hard all their lives in this country and paid their dues. If they then retire abroad they should receive the full pension and any ensuing increases. This is so in some countries but not in others. Why the discrepancy I wonder ?
    We've got too many in the UK who've contributed very little, or even nothing, but are there in the queue for their benefits.

  • Comment number 56.

    If a private company tried to stitch up its pensioners like this there would be an outcry!

    These people worked and contributed to Britain. They deserve a proper pension.

  • Comment number 57.

    Once again the Government of the UK (euphemism) errs on the side of meanness. Of course they should get full pensions! I agree they no longer pay Council and other taxes but, in turn, they don't use health and other benefits.

    This smacks of the fiasco over Commonwealth War Graves ... had the Government (euphemism) had its way the remains of those who died in battle would be overgrown and uncared for. After all, they only died to save us from Nazism!

    Brown & Co have already robbed them as pensioners just as they robbed UK pensioners. Give them their just rewards ... it's little enough as it is and nowhere near the fat, gold-encrusted pensions enjoyed by Civil Servants and MPs.

  • Comment number 58.

    to add to my #25......many people who leave the UK, take the option to continue to pay into the pension system in order to receive a full retirement pension, there are even "catch-up" options - to pay for years' that you didn't contribute.
    Many have paid their full whack for their pensions in more ways than one!

  • Comment number 59.

    Everybody should get the pension they paid for, regardless of where they live.
    There are a lot of complaints that ex-pat pensioners do not pay VAT or Community Tax in Britain, or contribute to the economy by buying in the UK.
    Let's get this straight, the State Pension is not paid out for what the pensioner might contribute to the economy. Community Tax is for services received in the community. The ex-pat does not receive these services. Agreed they don't pay VAT. However, if I lived in the UK I wouldn't be paying much VAT as I could afford very little; my buying power would be very small.
    Now what are we, ex-pats pensioners, saving the British economy? Rent Rebate: Pension Credits: In most cases, Heating Allowance: In my late husband's case, Attendance Allowance and National Health expenses plus wheelchair, crutches and other aids, plus community care for the elderly. Millions of pensioners in the UK receive these benefits. We paid for our needs ourselves, or managed without.
    All this is something people tend to forget when they moan about British ex-pats wanting their rightful, paid for, State Pension. Just one more, point, my husband spent 6 years at sea in WW2, was sunk 3 times. I believe his later ill health was partly due to that for which Britain paid nothing.

  • Comment number 60.

    If they've earned it and not sat on benefits all their lives then why not treat them the same. When I retire I'm off you can keep Broken Britain it looks like I'll lose out but it'll be worth it to escape the madhouse.

  • Comment number 61.

    The rules should at least be consistent. At present, if you retire to a commonwealth country with which the UK has historic links your pension will be frozen, but if you retire to an EU subject state with which we have nothing on common you will receive your full pension, including any increases while you live. I think (I haven't checked all) pensions are also frozen if you retire to a non commonwealth and non EU country, but I don't what happens if the country you retire to subsequently joins the EU. Given the territorial ambitions of the EU, maybe UK expats in Australia, New Zealand or Canada should start lobbying for those countries to join the EU although I doubt they would succeed as the people of those countries appreciate their freedom too much (a) to want to give it away to the EU and (b) to be acceptable to the EU bureaucracy.

    Either freeze all ex pats' pensions or none.

  • Comment number 62.

    People coming into the country don't get state pension - they have to have paid NI for 44/49 years - now reducing to 30 years. But it is unfair - especially when you consider we are paying child benefit to children living in Poland!

  • Comment number 63.

    Expats have to continue to pay contributions for 30 years to qualify for the pension, and other than the pension receive no benefits whatsoever from the British Government. For many retirees abroad, the pension has already lost 30% of its value in the past 5 years, because of the devaluation of the pound. Consider the health costs that are saved by having pensioners live abroad. I know many pensioners who have been very hard hit by the nominal decrease in their pensions, why hit them twice. And this is the caring socialist party!

  • Comment number 64.

    Pensioners living in the UK qualify for periodic pension increases. This is only right since these pensioners continue to pay tax on these pensions and any other earnings and investments. Expats, I assume, do not pay these taxes and so should have their pensions frozen at the levels at which they were when they ceased to pay UK taxes. If I am wrong, and they are paying full UK taxes , like resident pensioners, then of course they should be entitled to any increases. I understand that expat pensioners get the winter fuel allowance, which I assume goes to buy long sleeved T-shirts when the temperature in their mediterranean plummets to 15-16 degrees in the winter.

  • Comment number 65.

    Reclaim_the_country wrote:
    They paid in for their pension.
    They should get in full where ever they are.

    That's not how the system works, your National Insurance contributions are not put into a pot labelled Joe Blogg's State pension contributions, they are used to pay the State pensions of the current generation of pensioners as well as the other services provided by the welfare state.

    If you've left the country then why should British taxpayers contribute to your pension ?
    Would you expect the NHS to keep providing you with prescriptions ?
    Would you expect Social Services to keep providing you with meals on wheels ?

    Of course not, so why then should you expect to keep receiving the full State pension ?

  • Comment number 66.

    The extra payments in welfare benefits, like Income Support, that would be paid if the pensioners remained in the UK greatly exceed £500m. Give them their pensions!

  • Comment number 67.

    29 Keith Rogers

    You are proud that you never saved for your retirement and expect the British taxpayer to support you in your retirement?! I too don't like pension scheme rules, so my pension savings are in savings schemes that are not subject to those rules and over which I have greater control. This means my retirement will be more comfortable than it might otherwise be (at 50 I expect to be caught by the transitional arrangements when state pensions are abolished as an unaffordable luxury) and I will keep my self respect by supporting myself.

  • Comment number 68.

    Of course they should, not cold weather payments but the pension they had when they left the UK + any increase. They are British. Foreigners come here and draw all they benefits and all pensions so why not the British?

  • Comment number 69.

    I agree with the ruling, on the basis that (to quote the news item):
    "The department has said that pensioners who chose to move to a country without a reciprocal pensions arrangement would have been aware of what it would mean for their state pension."
    That is surely the key point. If people chose to move to a country without a reciprocal pensions arrangement, then that is something they should have taken account of before they made the move.

  • Comment number 70.

    Anyone paying money INTO a pension sceheme should be entitled to have that money paid out when the time is due. There should be no argument about this. Failure to pay it is equivalent to theft, but then we Brits have been robbed left, right and centre, by our dishonest, thieving governments.

  • Comment number 71.

    I agree with this decision. You can't retire to the sun and live off your UK pension when you aren't contributing any of that money back to the UK.

    I know the UK is a horrible place to live at the moment, but that doesn't mean people should be entitled to the benefits of a UK pension without the disadvantages of actually living here.

  • Comment number 72.

    frankiecrips (35) is talking nonsense about "rich expatriates" in non-EU countries. They have rights, too, and what's more if they are liable to tax in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore or wherever, they will have to pay it! For far too long, corrupt British governments have stolen the people's money and held on to it under one pretext or another. Time for CHANGE, as the cliche currently has it!

  • Comment number 73.

    Wow - at last there is something to be thankful to Europe for. Great ruling.

    If you leave and stop paying literally thousands in council tax, income tax, VAT then why oh why should people still trying to help the UK struggle forward top your pension pot up? My grandfather worked all his life, but could not afford to trot off to warmer climates. Sorry, but no sympathy to the deserters.

  • Comment number 74.

    So - this is "human rights". My husband and I paid into the British system for all our working lives. We moved to Canada to be near our only son. We do not use any British services (health, social, etc.) yet we are penalised. Has the British government considered this? I wonder.... has anyone worked out the cost to the British government if all expat pensioners moved back to the UK? Of course that would only be ones from Commonwealth countries that are so penalised. If we were to move 30 miles south into USA or went to Outer Mongolia our pensions would not be frozen. Thank goodness we now live in a country that respects human rights.

    Neither do you pay tax in the UK anymore either. So why should I have to pay for you to live in Canada, If Canada want you they can pay for you I'm sure as you put you now live in a country that respects human rights they'll have no problem in supporting you in your old age! Also ask a 1st nation person in Canada if they feel their human rights are respected?

    My belief is that when you leave a country you leave you don't come back cap in hand when you want money or an operation the you haven't really left. When I left the UK I chose to take responsibilty for myself instead of relying on the goverment to support me.

    Got to love the British Ex-pats not only do they sell up and move to places like Canada or Australia they then start running the UK in to the ground mainly because all bridges have been burned and they simply dont have the money to move back because its all sunk in to property in these sleepy corners of the empire and to sell and come back would mean halving their money so they have to force themselves in to believing that their adopted country is 'the best in the world', They then expect to be propped up by the British tax payers when they find that these places will not in fact take care of them and the reality differs greatly from the Brochure picked up at Canada or Australia house.

    I say tough if you wanted the rights of being a British person you should be resident in the UK otherwise let your new country look after you or start your own private pension!

  • Comment number 75.

    Outrageous! My parents moved away from this country for various reasons. Like many (including myself) they fear growing old in the UK. But, they have still paid into this system for many, many years and never claimed a benifit in their lifes! Sometimes having two jobs AND two lots of taxes each! However, its quite acceptable for people to come into this country without paying anything and getting more rights and benifits. Its gone too far when people who were born here and have paid into the system for years and snubbed. They would do far better and say they were from another country to live here! I'm sure they would be entitled to every benefit under the sun!

  • Comment number 76.

    I fully intend to retire abroad because as a pensioner I will not be able to afford to live in the UK, FACT!!!!!
    I will however go to an EU country, where I can get full state pension, having said that it is obscene that those who have contributed all their working lives to the UK national insurance (TAX)and live in say US, Canada etc can not!
    In my opinion, the word is THEFT!!!

  • Comment number 77.

    And for the person that so casually said 'you cant have it all' I dont think for one moment they DO want it all - just what they paid in for years!

  • Comment number 78.

    Of course they should, they have paid into the system. I fail to see what council tax vat etc has to do with it and that they "opted" out by leaving the UK; utter nonsense the very fact these people are pensioners would have meant that they paid their dues over 40-50 years. How on earth can we pay for benefits to children in Poland (unconfirmed number and why UK state benefit and not Polands) Pay millions to house and give benefits to immigrants pay millions to house and give benefits to single parents both who have not contributed into the system!

    This government has form when it comes to pensioners and pensions and should be called the truly nasty party.

    I would rather give the pensioners a decent living wage home or abroad than handing out money to the many something for nothing spongers currently living in this country, Including politicians who have been claiming off the state for their weekly food bills!

  • Comment number 79.

    Of course clobber the ex-pats. As an 82 year old stuck in the SSSS (Spiteful Socialst Shambles of Scotland) I am SO jealous.....

  • Comment number 80.

    The applicants did not contribute to the UK economy, in particular, they paid no UK tax to offset the cost of any increase in the pension.

    What rubbish! I live abroad and still pay Income Tax to the UK government and yet get no benefit from it. Let's face it; the truth is the British government is in such a financial shambles they just couldn't afford to make the payments. Just take a look at the value of the British Pound against other currencies for proof. GB used to mean Great Britain now it stands for Gordon Brown Going Broke.

  • Comment number 81.

    I have worked for 51 years of my life I have lived in England paying full taxes over a 36 year working career. Why is it fair to receive index linking on a pension in the EU and the 15 other countries and not anywhere else? Surely no one pays taxes to the UK if they don’t live there so if this ruling is to mean anything when it applies to one it should apply to them all? Pay it or don’t but at least be consistent and fair to all. No wonder I want my children to be educated and live in a country they can fully respect for their integrity. Shame on the UK!

  • Comment number 82.

    Reading through the comments the following questions spring to mind:
    Would paying VAT and council tax really cover the cost of medical services etc?
    Lower cost of living - even if that was possible in the countries excluded from the freeze - the sliding pound has looked after that.
    Would the UK government prefer to have all the pensioners and foreign spouses move to the UK to clog up the hospital waiting lists and get free medical care?
    Why should people who have all their working lives contributed and payed all their dues in the UK government be punished if they want to spend their retirement close to their children?

  • Comment number 83.

    If you have paid into the pension fund for the requisite number of years then you should receive the pension no matter where you reside. Alternatively get back what you paid in plus compound interest and inflation adjustment.

  • Comment number 84.

    I agree with a previous posting, if you decide to leave the country permanently or 6 months out of the year, yes, you should forfit certain things like the pension being frozen and while we are on the subject, they should not get winter fuel allowance either when they bugger off to spain for example for 6 months out of the year.

  • Comment number 85.

    So we can nurture and tend several million economic migrants and their offspring, but not native born citizens.
    I think if there were decent reciprocal international pension and health care arrangements there would be a stampede of brits leaving.
    How many years of our retirement will it take this time to clear up Labour's mess? More than some of us have left I suspect.

  • Comment number 86.

    Seeing though i pay for Eastern Europeans workers kids who dont live here,why not pay exptats aswell.

  • Comment number 87.

    If you have paid contributions for any length of time in the UK you should get a pension based on these contributions. Whether you paid for 5 years or 50 years the payments should be proportional.
    To JOHN3626 at #49 I would add that people who live in council houses pay tax and NI contributions too. On what grounds would he disbar them from receiving their pension?

  • Comment number 88.

    I suspect the government needs the pensions of emigrants to help towards the cost of benefits to immigrants.

  • Comment number 89.

    Expats don't use the NHS/Health Care which in their later life would cost a fortune, that's the first thing. Second, what about the millions of immigrants and workshy who milk the system without paying a penny towards dole/pension. Thirdly, why does the government still pay millions to despots in so-called developing countries, money which never reaches the poor people. Stop that and give pensioners who have paid into the system a raise in line with inflation. The British government is too stingy to even give their old soldiers a service pension if they retired before 1975 and served less than 22 years ! I served 18, 8 of which were active service and I get NOTHING for that, not a penny !

  • Comment number 90.

    65. At 3:48pm on 16 Mar 2010, General_Jack_Ripper wrote:

    That's not how the system works, your National Insurance contributions are not put into a pot labelled Joe Blogg's State pension contributions, they are used to pay the State pensions of the current generation of pensioners as well as the other services provided by the welfare state.

    If you've left the country then why should British taxpayers contribute to your pension ?
    Would you expect the NHS to keep providing you with prescriptions ?
    Would you expect Social Services to keep providing you with meals on wheels ?

    Of course not, so why then should you expect to keep receiving the full State pension ?


    Can't ex-pats can come back to the UK for medical treatment?
    What if an ex-pat decides to move back to the UK - they'd be afforded all the "benefits" I would think? And I'd venture to say, many are still getting prescriptions, etc. especially if they are maintaining a residence in the UK!
    There's all kinds of ways around your assumptions of "you wouldn't expect"

    Ex-pats receive a pension amount based on what they paid in/qualify for, and to reiterate, man ex-pats continue to pay in to the system or "buy-back" lost years, in order to accumulate a full 30 years.

    As been stated here by many - the cost to maintain this aging group in the UK would far exceed what is being saved by them being elsewhere and receiving a pension.

    People (in their droves)who dare to leave the UK for a better life shouldn't be punished.
    What's happened to the ol" flag waving "Once British, always British" attitude!!!!!!

  • Comment number 91.

    I live in Canada and why should my pension be frozen when someone in the states enjoys an unfrozen pension just over the border?. Who makes up these stupid rules. I have as much right as the immigrants who come into the UK expecting free everything and get it I have worked in the UK for many years before I managed to luckily escape. These immigrants don't work and and get everything, I have paid into the system and should get something back thank you very much!.

  • Comment number 92.

    What has where you live got to do with your entitlement to a pension to which you have contributed?

  • Comment number 93.

    If they have spent their working life in the UK and paid pension contributions in the UK, then the pension is theirs. Pensioners are not 'supported' by charity, they are claiming what they have bought and already paid for.

  • Comment number 94.

    My parents worked and paid taxes and NI in full. In later life they moved overseas when job prospects here became fewer. They are fully paid for NI / Pensions and now receive a full UK pension, at the level defined 10 years ago when they retired.

    With no pension increase in their residence country, and a badly devalued pound, they are now struggling to make ends meet. For a very small additional sum (couple hundred pounds a month) parity could be restored to the same as their paid up peers in this country and they could continue to live where they are, where they would be paid only pension.

    However, as we gave all our money away in bonuses to bankers, there is nothing left for pensioners, so they're selling up and returning. At which point they will receive all the missing pension and most likely additional benefits, as well as being able to make full use of the facilities of the NHS.

    The impact on the economy of them returning and using all the state provided facilities the UK has to offer is far more expensive than it would have been to simply pay the pension in a fair manner.

  • Comment number 95.

    64. At 3:47pm on 16 Mar 2010, Denisleeds wrote:
    Pensioners living in the UK qualify for periodic pension increases. This is only right since these pensioners continue to pay tax on these pensions and any other earnings and investments. Expats, I assume, do not pay these taxes and so should have their pensions frozen at the levels at which they were when they ceased to pay UK taxes. If I am wrong, and they are paying full UK taxes , like resident pensioners, then of course they should be entitled to any increases. I understand that expat pensioners get the winter fuel allowance, which I assume goes to buy long sleeved T-shirts when the temperature in their mediterranean plummets to 15-16 degrees in the winter.

    I can speak only for myself, when I say that my UK pensions are taxed. Further, the bulk of the money is still spent in the UK, though not the winter fuel allowance, which I am not paid, even though I live in Finland and not the sunny Mediterranean. I hasten to add that I don't feel any entitlement to the winter fuel allowance. Fortunately, Finland is a member of the EU, so the pension payments are index linked, even though the weak pound removes a good 30% of an earlier value, one reason why the money is spent in the UK as far as possible. I don't have a vote in the UK. I don't actually have a vote anywhere, and I have no entitlement to a Finnish pension either. Neither am I complaining. This is just to set the record right.

  • Comment number 96.

    It should be clearly understood that the whole point of the appeal to the European Court was that only selected expats are being unfairly treated not whether expats are entitled to a British state pension at all.

    The British government and the British people should remember which are the countries, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, that leap, immediately and without hesitation, into the fray when Britain is in trouble. Those countries offered up the lives of their young men and women to Britain more than once in the last century but are now being obliged to pick up the extra costs of aging expats because the non-indexed income from their British state pension gradually dwindles as the cost of living inevitably rises. Recent changes to the Canadian dollar/UK pound exchange rate have dangerously aggravated the situation putting even more of these old people at risk of extreme poverty. A UK pension that would have been worth $112 a month a few months ago is now worth $75 and dropping daily. British pensioners who move to the United States (a bit backward, sometimes, at lending a hand) Germany and Italy (hardly perennial best friends) enjoy indexed pensions, therefore more or less guaranteeing they will not become a burden on their adopted countries. Increases in the UK state pension pour into these economies (125,000 pensioners in the USA, 30,000+ each in Germany and Italy) while Canadian taxpayers, for instance, are obliged, along with their commitments to pay pensions to immigrants and provide them with affordable health care, to pay supplementary benefits to expat pensioners who have sunk below the poverty line due, entirely, to the injustice perpetrated against them through a pension into which they too have paid. It takes a certain kind of mind to be able to work its way round to not seeing any injustice in this situation: what is surprising is that so many such minds do seem to exist even in the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. It would be as well to remember too that there are still a number of these elderly expats who, as British citizens, wore the British uniform during WWII and fought alongside the Canadians, the Australians and the New Zealanders to prevent the Germans and the Italians from overrunning all of Europe including Great Britain. Ingratitude thy name is England.

  • Comment number 97.

    It's a disgraceful ruling - those pensioners have paid up like everyone else - and they're saving the country money by living elsewhere (think about it). If anything, things should be done to encourage people to retire away from UK - that shouldn't be too difficult! Think about the positives before jumping to negatives!

  • Comment number 98.

    Ex-pats deserve less because they aren't contributing anymore? Do the people saying this realize how petty and jealous they sound? It's as though they resent people who after spending their whole lives working and living in Britain decide to spend their sunset years somewhere with a nicer climate. "They got out and we're still stuck here, punish them!"
    They make it sound like Britain is a prison where everyone is serving a life sentence and parolees are expected to stay in prison.

  • Comment number 99.

    If you have chosen to leave the UK, then be lucky you get anything at all, never mind moaning that it's not enough.

  • Comment number 100.

    They do get the pension. It isn't inflation proofed. So they get what they paid for.

    UK inflation has no relevance to someone living overseas.

    In most countries their pension is topped up if the exchange rate goes bad, as it is now.

    With a high Euro or $ the British pension is going to look small and no-one is asking for exchange rate adjustment.

    They didn't give any back when the pound was high though.


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