< Towards Solutions to the Four Objectives

Towards Solutions to the Four Objectives.

 

 

1. Freedom of movement is an enshrined corner stone of the European Union.

Yet the UK Government places so many obstacles in the way of the expatriate pensioner in Europe.  On the basis that the world is growing smaller and that the UK is within the European Union, would it not be a simple step to declare that the European Union is a legitimate zone to which to retire – extending the spirit of the 1920’s and 1930’s when many elderly people retired to the south coast – reflecting the current ease of travel and communication. The membership of the EU enforces a distinction between Europe, and the rest of the world (Australia, N.Z. U.S.A., Canada etc.)

Benefits –

Pensioners are entitled under EU law to receive benefits such as Attendance Allowance [AA] (though the UK displays a reluctance to observe the law) and Winter Fuel Payment (WFP) if you were entitled to receive them in the UK.  Retirees who receive the first are only likely to retire to the Continent for the sake of their health. The WFP was unfairly denied to those who retired to the Continent before its inception in 1998.  It was the EU which forced the hand of  the UK to pay it to pensioners in mainland Europe. It is clear that it forms an important part of the State provision for the elderly.  The very elderly on the Continent are those who are most in need and it is those very people who are denied.

[Benefits also available to under 65’s are DLA –Disability Living Allowance and it successor PIP, and CA – Carers Allowance which is linked to concurrent provision of  DLA or AA to a person who receives care.]

Financial Opportunities.

Nearly all pensioners derive their income from UK based funds.  Yet they are usually not permitted to open bank accounts in the UK because they are non-resident. They are in consequence denied freedom to change bank accounts. They cannot avail themselves of such vehicles as ISA’s.  Yet these pensioners may well in their very final years return to the UK to die ‘in the bosom of their families’.  Such tax-free investments could be enormously helpful in their support in those final years. 

Much relief would derive from denoting the EU as a Legitimate Retirement Zone where the pensioner is, for the most part, treated as an equal citizen vis-à-vis a pensioner who lives in the UK.  The opportunities could be limited to those non-resident citizens who demonstrate that they receive a state related old age pension.

 

2. The lack of appropriate representation in Parliament.  The arguments against the existing system have been dealt with in another link of this blog-site.  As a first step, a Minister for the expatriate community in Europe (MEE) could be appointed.  As the European expatriate community comes to realise its political voice, then one hopefully would move towards the direct election of Members of Parliament for expatriate communities in Europe.

 

3.  The effect of the Double Taxation Conventions.  These have a long established historical base dating from times before the institution of the EU.  They retain a purpose for commercial organisations who may well otherwise suffer a double taxation.  One questions whether they have a function in individual taxation.  Since they exist and are unlikely to change, it is essential that where it is stated that one is taxed in the country of Origin and not in the country of Residence, then it should be so correctly applied.  Currently, in France, it is not so.  In consequence the expatriate ex-government employees pays more tax in Britain than they would do if all income were taxed in France.  The British Government must redress this situation, by consultation with the French Authorities.

 

4. The stability of the £ against the Euro.  At heart the British Political Sense must decide if it is going to take a full role in Europe or not.  There can never be a full participation in the trade of Europe if violent fluctuations of currency are allowed to recur.   It is a mighty political step to make, but it would be progress if the Bank of England should understand the situation of the expatriate and not lower its Bank rate below that of the European Central Bank without a very powerful reason.

 

The Pensioners in the EU beyond the UK are treated by the British Government as second-class citizens.