The minister for human resources in Canada has issued a formal statement that labels the British coalition government as ‘unfair’ in its latest dealings with expat pensioners in commonwealth Canada. Retirees that are now drawing pensions or eligible to do so in the future, have built-up pension contributions in the UK‘s National Insurance Fund. Unfortunately though, they will not get an entitlement to the full benefits that they have every right to expect.
There are nearly 160,000 expat pensioners residing in Canada and the minister, Diane Finley feels that they should receive the same benefits as pensioners that live in other countries, such as America. However, a long-established policy of successive British governments has frozen the pension pay outs for over 500,000 eligible people in more than a hundred countries. Most of these countries are members, or former members, of Her Majesty’s Commonwealth. UK pensions in most non-commonwealth countries are protected against inflation.
The expat pensioners have, by law, had to pay into the National Insurance Fund over the course of their working lives. According to the same ministerial statement, they raise this issue with the UK government at every opportunity. Even though they pointed out the unfairness of the policy to William Hague, the UK foreign secretary in January this year, there is no sign of a fiscal ‘U’ turn in the direction of expat pensioners. It almost seems that once you have left the UK for foreign parts you become a second class national. The UK government seems dead set on taking on refugees in their own waters, but don’t seem to show any interest toward their own!
The Canadian ministry statement summarises the principles involved very well. They said that Canada thinks that equality and fairness are the key points with regards to this matter. They think that expats from the UK at the pension age should get the benefits that they have every right to receive. It shouldn’t matter where their abode is, the point is that they are from the UK and have contributed to tax their whole adult lives. The Canadian government thinks that the UK need to address this issue, and make sure that pensioners that live abroad are treated in the same manner as those that take funds from other social security programs in other countries.
They think that it's down to governments in other countries to join and resolve this matter. They said that all the pensioners that have paid their tax contributions, that are fighting this legislation are respected, and that they will continue to support them and try to help them with this matter.
Don’t hold your breath though! The chances of the UK Treasury coughing up more money for expat pensions is less than zero. It’s all about the money. The UK has entered a double ‘dip recession’. Austerity measures are in place worldwide. Canadian and Australian taxpayers resent paying the cost of expat social support. Indeed, they are two of very few countries that do actually help expats who get into dire straits. It's just as well since both countries are home to thousands of UK pensioner immigrants. The Bank of England has printed over £325 billion to appease the financial system and the money markets, but to no avail. Still, at least it saved the banks.
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