Expat loses legal fight to upgrade British pensions
26 May 2005, LONDON — An expat has lost her legal fight to upgrade pensions of half a million Britons living abroad after the British House of Lords ruled against her.
26 May 2005
LONDON — An expat has lost her legal fight to upgrade pensions of half a million Britons living abroad after the British House of Lords ruled against her.
The case was brought by Annette Carson, who emigrated from Britain to South Africa in 1989.
She continued to make full contributions to her state pension in the UK but one year after she retired in 2000, the UK government refused to add on the indexation increases, the Press Association new agency reported.
It is estimated that a win for Carson could land the British government with a bill for at least GBP 400 million.
Pensioners retiring to the US and any EU country have their state pension upgraded in line with the retail price index.
But those who retire to most Commonwealth countries, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa, do not receive the annual uplift.
Behind the apparent anomaly are rules about reciprocal social security arrangements, which extend full annual increases in payments to pensioners in the EU and the US, but not to 48 out of 53 Commonwealth countries.
Carson's pension is now fixed at GBP 67.50 per week, compared with GBP 79.60 if it had been upgraded.
Speaking when Carson first launched her appeal, her representative in court, Graham Chrystie, partner at law firm Thomas Eggar, said the current situation was "morally indefensible".
He said: "What is claimed under this case is simply parity and fair play for all UK overseas pensioners. The present discrimination against roughly half of the overseas pensioner group is morally indefensible."
It is believed that there are 540,000 pensioners in the Commonwealth countries who have had their payment level frozen and 470,000 who receive full increases living in the EU, US, Barbados and Jamaica.
A British pensioner living in France or Spain receives full indexation, while someone who lives in Andorra, sandwiched between the two countries, does not.
Subject: Spanish news