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CONCERN 1.                                                                               FREEDOM OF MOVEMENT

That all old age pensioners who live in EUROPE should have a seamless access to benefits and to most financial opportunities in the same manner as in Britain.

This concern is growing. It is extended to cover the concern of inhibition relating to freedom of physical movement to and from the Continent by British citizens resident on the Continent.  This additional concern is indicated below under the  headingFreedom of Travel

FACT – 3.4% of all British OAPs live in Continental Europe and Ireland [August 2012] (over 424,000), within easy access of the UK.

This Objective (or Concern) develops from the notion that the European Union, if it has value for ALL its citizens, must allow freedom of movement within its borders for All its citizens, without financial constraints.

British Governments are facing a dilemma.  They either must accept that the UK is part of Europe, and adjust its laws to allow freedom of movement, or devolve from the EU.

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Finance and Banking.

If you need to open an on-shore UK bank account, it is these days very difficult to do so..

If you require the interest from an on-shore account to be paid Gross – without tax deducted – again it is difficult.  It is tiresome and possibly hardly worth the hassle to reclaim the tax.

There are no legal reasons for these problems.

Roger Gale MP for North Thanet has shown an interest  and has asked for feedback

Please email francepensions@orange.fr  to give your experiences.

LINKLetter from the UK Treasury on this matter.  It gives a link to the British Banking Association – which seems somewhat useless in this regard.

 

Generally  on Banking and financial services:-

This objective seeks to make it possible to use the financial systems of the UK -- that is  to freely use bank accounts in the UK - use savings opportunities - e.g. ISAs

When a pensioners moves to the continent, almost all are still dependent for all finance (except a foreign cheque account for immediate use) on UK systems.  If you have an ISA (or PEP) before you left the UK you can retain it.  You can retain your bank account.  If you have a good rapport with your bank you can probably open accounts with the same bank.  But this is  not necessarily so.   Moreover you cannot open a new ISA (or similar).  If your bank collapsed, you could be bereft of an onshore British Bank.

Your move to the continent is no different in spirit from a move in the 1930’s to Bexhill or Bournemouth.   It is in this spirit that the British Government (and to some degree the other European Governments) needs to catch up with the demographic changes within Europe.  Curiously, it is easier for a Briton to open a bank account in France with a  British address than vice-versa.

Freedom of Travel .  

Residents on the Continent have good reason to use their cars when visiting the UK.  Follow the appalling incidents of Police impounding such cars.

1. Letter from the Legal Advisor to the Spanish Association of Expatriates.

2. Actual report of an incident.

 

ON HEALTH  visit also the blog entry.  

THE EU REGULATIONS:- The year of its formulation is given.  The click note is the access point. They are all large and will take time to download.

1. The earliest EU Regulation 1408- date 1971, before the UK joined the EU in 1973.  It lays down rules for Social Security. Click.

Each EU Regulation has a twin Implementing Regulation which states how the basic regulation is to be implemented.

2. Implementing Regulation for 1408-1971.  574-1972.  click.

3. The above Regulation was modified, and superseded by 883- 2004.  It was not brought into operation until May 1st 2010.  Many ‘articles’ in the earlier regulation are copied in and some of the earlier are still operative. click

4. The implementing Regulation for  number 3 above is 987-2009. click

 

 

 

Health Matters    The entry here is a letter (20/08/2010) detailing the European Laws on payment for health costs.  The EU laws suggest that the UK should pay for all health care if you retired to Europe after you received the OAP.

1.      A seven page report on the costing of health care in France has been sent to the Conservative/LibDem  Secretary of State for Health in June 2010.

Read the report. [click here]

A saving of possibly £50 million might be saved by the UK Government and also the British OAP in France might not need health insurance if reforms were made.

Petition  to the EU sent October 2010

Re –petition sent December 2010

 

On Benefits:-  [This matter has largely been resolved – HMG has consented (2012) that benefits can be paid to British Citizens abroad if they are dependent for their social security on Britain.]

A Press release on June 24 2010 from the EUROPEAN Union states absolutely clearly that Benefits once granted in the UK are exportable throughout the European Economic Area.

View the release and statement on it issued by the Spanish Expatriates Association.

This means for citizens of whatever age and condition. The European Court of Justice [ECJ] upholds this concept.  It has decreed (October 2007) that ‘sickness benefits’  must be exportable between the States.

Consider these scenarios.

1.  You are over retirement age, alone, and fairly ill or disabled.  Your married daughter or son has long lived in France.  You receive some form of disability allowance or Attendance Allowance.  You and your family believe that your life be be easier if you lived within the bosom of your family, and desire that you move.  The British Government cut off your ‘sickness benefit’.

2.  You and your wife are retired.  You are disabled with a lung condition and your wife receives a Carer’s Allowance to look after you.  You receive an Attendance Allowance. She is fluent in French and you both decide that a small cottage on the Mediterranean shore would be  a happier place to live than Manchester.  The British Government cut off your allowances.

3. Real example given on the Reader’s letters link – An aging mother lives in France. Her daughter aged 45 is suffering from an extremely rare and debilitating blood disorder.  Her daughter receives the DLA in England. She moves to live with her mother for mutual support.  Her DLA is stopped – The British Civil Service seems to have invented a regulation which in EU terms must be illegal.   Since the  ECJ made their ruling the British Administration has imposed a ruling that the DLA can only continue to be paid if the recipient has paid in sufficient National Insurance Contributions.  This ruling contravenes the ECJ decision and therefore is illegal.

 

The Position taken by the British Government.   The European Court has decreed that the British Government is/was acting illegally in maintaining that  these benefits can only be given the RESIDENTS  in the UK.

The British Government, whilst accepting this ruling that they were breaking the law up to 2007, refuse to pay the allowances retrospectively from before that date.  They (It)  further insist that they will only pay  benefits to people who have previously been refused such payments from THE DATE THAT any person writes to the Government asking for restitution.

Roger Gale MP for N. Thanet has steadfastly pursued the illegal position of the British Government.

Here are links to the latest exchange of letters between him and the Government minister, Jonathan Shaw.  Click on the following links.

1. From J. Shaw to Roger Gale April 2009. 

2. From Roger Gale reply to J. Shaw April 2009

3. Circular letter from Roger Gale M.P. to other MPs December 2009.

 

On April the 24th the media highlighted, no doubt from a press release from Whitehall, the ‘fact’ that some British residents in Spain are abusing the UK benefits system and claiming illegally the Winter Fuel Payment (WFP)..  Roger Gale issued a counter press release. (click).  As for the WFP – see item below.

Also look at all the links listed below under the heading  THE BENEFITS ISSUE

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On payment of monies for the elderly:-

This objective seeks to make possible for all retired people in Europe to receive all elderly persons' benefits, related to age, available to similar persons in the UK- especially the Winter Fuel Payment, pension credits.

Link number 6 in the list below is relevant.  One must be beware of the political overtones of the title ’Winter Fuel Payment’. It was instituted in 1997/8 by Gordon Brown to ‘help out the elderly with their winter fuel costs’.  That is to say it is indeed a supplement to the payments to the elderly.  Instead of raising the Old Age Pension, which is taxable, this payment which is non-taxable is given to ALL elderly persons, whether they are rich or poor, whether they live in the Scilly Isles or the Shetlands.  So a millionaire in mild Falmouth gets it in the same manner as a poor person who has almost no spare cash in the Gorbals in Glasgow.  It is a very bad system.  Money is wasted on those who do not need it.  But also there are many poor pensioners living on the Continent who are refused it.  They often are living in colder winters than the pensioners in Devon and Cornwall.

The Government declared at the outset that it was only payable to RESIDENTS in the UK.  The European Court again decreed that this was illegal.  But. again, the Government  has refused to grant it to anyone who left the UK before 1998,  and of course if one left the UK before the age of 60 but attained the age of  access to the OAP whilst resident on the continent, they also will never receive it.

Thus someone who leaves the UK aged 59, will not receive the WFP, whilst someone who leaves aged 60, will receive it.

In fact of the 360,000 (year c. 2008) old age pensioners in continental Europe, only 43,000 (year c.2008) are paid the WFP. ALL would receive it if they lived in the UK.  Many are clearly not claiming it, although they are entitled to do so.

This allowance (or payment) needs reform.

Comparison of State Pensions in Europe  (click to see graphs)

 

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THE BENEFITS ISSUE.  {essentially the material here is archival -  The case for payment of DLA, AA and CA has been won – until of course the HMG devise other ways of avoiding support for citizens abroad!}

This issue has sadly raised some heated exchange of letters. 

This item relates to the attitude under the previous Labour Government  READ this publication - Effrontery! (click) -

 

TO LODGE an Appeal for payment of a lapsed allowance view this link  and follow all the advice on Format –

This link is the account of a successful appeal by an 80 year women for the Attendance Allowance

 

1. Richard Ashworth asks parliamentary question in the EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT (click)

This item was forwarded to this site by Roger Gale MP on March 25th 09.

1a..  Government will pay benefits - reply  (click) to Roger Gale MP- Thanet North. Good News?

1b . Roger Gale M.P.  letter seeking clarification of the above reply – still confusion 25/02/2009

1c. Written parliamentary question by Mark Harper MP.  of   March 3 2009  (click)  [forwarded by Roger Gale MP]

2. see posting for February 12th - DLA reinstated! Perhaps?
3. See Readers Letters link for letter February 16th. (DLA AA & CA)

4. An Analysis of the Benefit System (UK) click
5. The Payments of Benefits DLA etc- A UK Government mess.click to read
6. An account in the VAR (VAR VILLAGE VOICE) of the benefit scandal.  (Pdf version) [for .doc file version click this one to right] Var scandal.

 

Correspondence to the Parliamentary Committee on Works and Pensions

1.  Emails to the W&P  Committee May 20th on the unfair and illegal imposition of a NI contributory threshold.

2. Ancient  Correspondence to Ms. Yvette Cooper Minister for W&P (June 8 2009)

Various 'postings' on the blog relate to this objective.

Read, then exercise your political power. Write to your MP, a Minister, the Chancellor, or the Bank of England. Their addresses are accessible from the blog