Current Year


15-Mar-20 – Brits in Toronto blog: Canada is being left out in the cold … again

14-Mar-20 – The Guardian: Frozen pensions: ‘unfair’ policy costs 94-year-old £62,000 

“Last Monday was Commonwealth Day, and the press release talked about “delivering a common future”. But those words may feel hollow to some: the highest numbers of affected pensioners live in larger Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada”.

14-Mar-20 – The Express: State pension: ‘Good news’ for pensioners as Living Wage rise could ‘bake in’ extra amount

“Surprisingly, the increase in the national living wage for lower paid workers will be a modest boost for pensioners. One of the factors which decides how much the state pension increases each year is the growth in average earnings”.

– Steve Webb, former Pensions Minister

12-Mar-20 – iNews: Channel 5’s Rich Holiday, Poor Holiday proves Brits abroad are all stereotyped equally on TV

we can escape the country, but we will never escape the stereotypes

…the lens that the majority of people living in the UK of pensioners living overseas is that we are living it up and having parties every day. Little do they know that, for example, over 95,000 pensioners are getting a UK state pension of less than £20 per week. The average received by this cohort of pensioners is £11.22 per week.

11-Mar-20 – The Budget: Sir Peter Bottomley:

“While I am talking about pensioners, the biggest stain on this Parliament is that overseas pensioners in dominion countries and some others do not get the increases in the state pension. The law, as judged by case judges, is that while what the Government are doing may be legal, it is quite clearly wrong. The fact that we had pension agreements with Canada, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and some of the Caribbean countries from the 1950s, when inflation was not an issue, should not leave us going on defending the indefensible. Why do half of our overseas pensioners get the increase and the other half do not? The Government really must build in getting rid of that anomaly by the end of this Parliament. It is unfair and unjustified, and it should not continue”.

12-Feb-20 – The Express: State pension warning: Retirement age set to increase even further in just two years

12-Feb-20 – Sky News: Government suspends £4.7m funding for Commonwealth Secretariat

12-Feb-20 – Government Actuary’s Department (GAD): The draft Social Security Benefits Up-rating Order 2020; and The draft Social Security (Contributions) (Rates, Limits and Thresholds Amendments and National Insurance Funds Payments) Regulations 2020

…the National Insurance Fund (table 2.4) now shows that the GAD are forecasting an excess balance of £72 BILLION by 31st March 2025. The forecast for the Fund for the year to 31st March 2024 has increased by £5 Billion since the GAD forecast a year ago – full details here.

11-Feb-20 – Emigrate.co.uk: Is Thailand still an inexpensive expat retiree destination? 

11-Feb-20 – The Express: State pension age? 1.3 million could get £58 per week – are you eligible to claim?

The average Pension Credit payment is more than £58 per week

….no Pension Credit for Frozen Pensioners….

10-Feb-20 – This is Money (Daily Mail): I live in Canada but can I get my state pension paid in sterling, to convert it when exchange rates are favourable?

10-Feb-20 – iPolitics: Lobby Wrap: 63 new registrations filed in last week of January

Mary Anne Carter of Earnscliffe registered for the Canadian Alliance of British Pensioners, who want the U.K. government to unfreeze their pensions.

8-Feb-20 – Costa Blanca Leader: Healthcare and Pension Information

…for those who are living in the EU, EEA or Switzerland by 31 December 2020 you will get your UK State Pension uprated every year for as long as you continue to live there.

– British Embassy spokesperson 

…subject to a reciprical agreement being reached between Spain and the UK before the end of the transition period (31st December 2020)

5-Feb-20 – The Express: How much is the state pension in UK? Amount will rise in April 2020 – new rates e

xplained

5-Feb-20 – Eastern Eye: Ethnic minority pensioners “worse off” than white counterparts

…the average pensioner from an ethnic minority background is £3,350 a year worse off than other individuals at a similar age.

5-Feb-20 – The People’s Pension: Measuring the Ethnicity Pensions Gap

4-Feb-20 – The Express: BBC TV licence fee: Boris told to act as BBC should have ‘no role’ in over 75s social care

The BBC says it cannot afford to fund free TV licences for over 75s and plans to means-test older people by giving it only to those who receive Pension Credit.

1-Feb-20 – The Express: UK expat pensioners living in EU drops to five-year low

….this is also true with regard to frozen countries:

May 2015: 548,991

May 2016: 544,505

May 2017: 537,093

May 2018: 513,476

May 2019: 505,946

Numbers increased from 2002 (482,019) until 2014 (551,621), but since then, they have been in decline.

Source: Department of Work and Pensions

31-Jan-20 – Starts at 60: A miserly UK pensions policy robs thousands of retirees in Australia

“The UK is the only OECD country that practices a selective pension policy of freezing its state pension in some countries but not others – an immoral system that it has kept in place for almost 70 years.”

– Jim Tilley, British Pensions in Australia (BPIA)

31-Jan-20 – Daily Mail: Wish EU were here? Brits in Benidorm head to the beach on their mobility scooters to soak up the sun on UK’s final day in the European Union

31-Jan-20 – Voice of America: British Expats Mourn ‘Independence Day’

“As a couple living in Italy for 12 years, and retiring on UK-earned pensions prior to the referendum, we have lost nearly 20 percent of our annual income due to the devaluation of sterling since UK citizens voted for Brexit in June 2016.”

– Donald Law, a retired British doctor living in Pisa, Italy

….imagine having a frozen British Pension and to have that devalue by 20%….what a nightmare….

31-Jan-20 – Business Day: Brexit worries plague UK retirees in Spain — and Spanish firms

31-Jan-20: GOV.UK: Boost for pensioners in the EU

The Immigration and Social Security Coordination Bill will ensure the UK can set new rules on benefits and social security. 

31-Jan-20 – Daily Express: National Insurance threshold rise to save 31m £104 a year – will it affect state pension?

….with fewer NI Contributions, the excess in the National Insurance Fund (NIF) will go down….

28-Jan-20 – The Express: What state pension will I get when I retire? How to check your state pension forecast

24-Jan-20 – Baroness Altmann’s Blog: State Pension after Brexit and frozen pensioners

24-Jan-20 – Daily Mail – This is Money: Threat of frozen state pensions lifted in boost for British expats in the EU – but you must have moved there by the end of 2020

People who move to the EU or after 2020 might end up in the same boat as the 550,000 retirees around the world whose state pensions are currently frozen

18-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Retirement in 2020: 7 things to consider for the thousands set to reach state pension age

17-Jan-20 – The Telegraph: Brexit and pensions: everything you need to know 

“governments realise that poorly paid pensioners in any country will end up being supported by their host country through benefits”.

– Tom McFail, Hargreaves Lansdown

…isn’t that the truth….

“Furthermore, it [the UK Government] has already agreed a reciprocal arrangement with Ireland which protects social security rights when the UK eventually leaves the EU”.

– Tom Selby, A J Bell analyst

16-Jan-20 – They Work for You: European Union (Withdrawal Agreement) Bill – Committee (3rd Day) – Amendment No 37.

“There are more than half a million pensioners around the world who have frozen pensions. There has been a sustained and impressive campaign by the International Consortium of British Pensioners to try to persuade the Government to uprate the state pensions of people who live in the 150 countries, of the 200 countries around the world, in which there are not reciprocal arrangements to uprate state pensions and therefore their pensions are frozen. So this issue goes much wider, and I applaud the Government for at least agreeing to uprate the pensions of those citizens who live in the EU, regardless of reciprocation in the meantime. I would encourage my noble friend, and the Government, to consider this in the context of the overall uprating issues for people with frozen pensions around the world”.

– Baroness Altmann – Minister of State for Pensions (May 2015 – July 2016)

16-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Brexit must NOT impact on UK expats – Warning sent to EU over treatment of Brits abroad

15-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Retirement: 1 in 3 retiring with ‘£17,460 debt’ this year amid state pension age changes

Of those in debt, 48 percent still owe money on credit cards, 31 percent have an outstanding bank loan and 14 percent will still have a mortgage. One in eight people in debt said they expect to owe money for nine years or more, according to the research.

15-Jan-20 – Lexology: Pension sharing after an overseas divorce

15-Jan-20 – Daily Express: State pension is rising in 2020 but not all pensioners to get more money: Who is affected?

While the UK has social security agreements with Canada and New Zealand, a person cannot get a yearly increase in the UK state pension if they live in either of these countries.

14-Jan-20 – Full Fact (GB): State spending isn’t at a record high when you consider the size of the economy

“The triple lock has, since 2010, pushed up pensioner benefit spending substantially in real terms. But in the other direction the increases in the state pension age for women and, more recently, men will have cut it.”

– Carl Emmerson, Deputy Director at the Institute for Fiscal Studies 

In other words, the government has increased the average amount a pensioner will receive, but reduced the number of pensioners by increasing the pension age.

14-Jan-20 – Daily Express: State pension age change fix: 1950s woman has ‘goldilocks plan’ at ‘fraction of the cost’

13-Jan-20 – Financial Times: Low-paid workers at risk of losing full state pension

13-Jan-20 – This is Money: The mistake costing British pensioners thousands of pounds a year

The key state benefits pensioners can claim are guarantee pension credit, savings pension credit and a council tax reduction.

11-Jan-20 – Daily Express: State pension UK: Is the amount you get rising in 2020? When you could get more revealed

10-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Deferring state pension? How to make sure you still get the Winter Fuel Payment

A person qualifies for the Winter Fuel Payment if both the following apply:

  • They were born on or before April 5, 1954

  • They lived in the UK for at least one day during the week of 16 to 22 September 2019 – known as the qualifying week.”

…no Winter Fuel Payment for us…

10-Jan-20 – The Royal Gazette (Bermuda): Retirees report bank’s ‘incompetent service’

However, another senior said he had the same problem with major arrears in his monthly pension, and two others said the Bermuda Government should switch from the British-based Crown Agents Bank, which the Government said had “drastically” changed its procedures after the bank was sold off to a private firm almost four years ago.

….be careful who you bank with….

9-Jan-20 – National Seniors (Australia): Group lobbies PM on Frozen Pensions

9-Jan-20 – British Pensions in Australia: Pension Loss Factors

8-Jan-20 – Daily Express: State pension age is rising – does the change coming into effect this week affect you?

8-Jan-20 – Money Marketing: Waking up the public to the sleeping pensions giant

8-Jan-20 – Learn Bonds: Are you on track to match the pensions in the average British home? 

Last year’s retirement income for two adults was just under £28,880, said the Office for National Statistics.

…this is around AUD/CAD 46,000….

7-Jan-20 – Money Marketing: Government confirms new pensions bill details

7-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Pension news: Hoping to retire in 2020? 10 top tips for planning your retirement

6-Jan-20 – Harrogate Advertiser: Thousands of UK retirees are set to lose £70 a week from their state pension – this is who’s affected

A total of 11,000 retirees are expected to lose a collective £33 million as a result of the cuts.

4-Jan-20 – iNews: Universal Credit and benefits changes in 2020: when new DWP guidelines come into place – and how they affect you

From April, people who receive the state pension will find their income increases by the highest amount since 2010. People who reached state pension age after 6 April 2016, and receive the new flat rate pension, will be £343.20 better off a year. Their weekly pension will increase from £168.80 to £175.20. Those on the old state pension, who reached pension age before 6 April 2016, will see their weekly payment go up from £129.20 to £134.25 a week – £262.60 a year.

…and Frozen Pensioners will receive the huge increase of £0.00 in April 2020..as per usual

4-Jan-20 – The Mirror: Government to cut £70 a week from thousands of state pensions

Some £33million is being taken away from people’s pensions as the Government ends the allowance for adult dependents.

“It will come as a nasty shock to thousands of people to see their state pension cut by up to £70 per week.”

– Steve Webb, Royal London Life

3-Jan-20 – The Express: State pension: 1950s woman gives heartbreaking admission ‘we don’t have time on our side’

“I don’t think any Government is going to overturn primary legislation..”

– Mariana Robinson, ’63 is the new 60’ which campaigns for women to receive their pension aged 63

….Frozen Pensioners would agree with Ms. Robinson, but you cannot give up on the fight….

3-Jan-20 – Financial Times: HMRC to act over state pension ‘missing years’ 

Lyndsey Jones, a 55-year-old FT journalist, noticed a missing year in her national insurance record when she checked her state pension forecast a year ago as part of her long-term retirement planning. HMRC told Ms Jones that the problem arose because the missing records had been kept on microfilm (scaled down reproductions of documents) which had not been uncovered in previous searches.

…Ms Jones needed this one extra year to qualify for a full State Pension. Scandalous behavior by HMRC…..

3-Jan-20 – Emigrate.co.uk: Where are the best world destinations for expat retirement

2-Jan-20 – Scottish Daily Record: Most new jobs created in next decade will be filled by over 65s

Analysis of latest UK government data shows that increased life expectancy and changes to the pension age will see many workers struggle to retire. More than half of new jobs created over the next decade will be filled by people aged 65 and over.

In Canada, acoording to the 2015 census, one in five Canadians aged 65 and older, or nearly 1.1 million seniors, reported working during the year, so, it is not just happening in the UK

2-Jan-20 – The Express: State pension age is rising next week – are you affected by the latest change?

On January 6, 2020, people who have the date of birth within the date range of May 6, 1954 and June 5, 1954, will reach state pension age. It is due to reach 66 in October 2020. Under the Pensions Act 2016, the state pension age is due to rise from 66 to 67 between 2026 and 2028.

1-Jan-20 – EuroNews: Bleak future: Quarter of a million British pensioners spend New Year in cold, damp or unsafe homes

..alarming statistics show that a quarter of a million British pensioners’ households rung in 2020 in abhorrent conditions. Some 260,000 rented households where a person over the age of 65 resides has been classed by the government as “non-decent”.

…according to DWP stats, there are over 95,000 Frozen Pensioners who receive a UK State Pension of less than £20 per week, with the average receiving £11.18 per week, so they are suffering as well….

1-Jan-20 – Daily Express: State pension age change: 1950s women in ‘poverty’ with no money, says campaigner

That doesn’t mean going out, that doesn’t mean doing anything, it doesn’t mean holidays, it doesn’t mean joining lots of organisations and clubs. It simply means existing. Most of us women are in that position or worse, we don’t have any savings left. There are women using food banks.”

– Mariana Robinson, campaigner for women born in the 1950’s

….we can empathise with these women on two levels:

  • There are over 282,000 women living in over 100 countries who have never received an increase to their UK State Pension;

  • There are over 48,000 of these women who were born in the 1950’s…..

1-Jan-20 – Daily Express: Brexit shock: The SIX things UK citizens can still do in the EU after January 31