JMC focuses on pensions for UK citizens in OTs

| 02/11/2016 | 25 Comments
Cayman News Service

British Overseas Territories flags in Parliament Square, London

(CNS): As the Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) meeting kicked off on Tuesday, the question of pensions and healthcare for retired British citizens living in the territories appeared to dominate the talks. Peter Hayes, the FCO’s director of the overseas territories, opened the talks about retirees who paid into the UK pensions system and are living in the territories but don’t receive increases in their pensions allowing for inflation. 

Pensioners living in Bermuda or Gibraltar do and other British Overseas Territories leaders are asking for equitable treatment to those living in the UK or the crown dependencies.

“It comes down to the question of what constitutes a British citizen, which we all are,” Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin reportedly said. The matter was described by the premier’s press secretary in a release from London as a “major issue” for some territories because British pensioners often find themselves seeking welfare assistance from the BOT government where they live.

The UK takes the position that it cannot afford to pay overseas pensioners the increases because it could make the British government liable to pay similar increases to all citizens living in Commonwealth countries.

“For that theory to have any relevant basis would mean the overseas territories are not British territories,” McLaughlin argued. “We are not residing in some foreign land. The British Overseas Territories have been owned by Britain for hundreds of years.”

The question is a strange one for the Cayman Islands, however, as any British national who resides in Cayman who is not Caymanian can only claim welfare or support from the government in any way if they have Cayman status. Non-Caymanians of British origin are not treated any differently from any other foreign resident unless they have status, and need a work-permit or legal residency rights via marriage or wealth to be here in the first place.

During the discussions among the territories, however, Hayes suggested that UK constitutional and pension lawyers meet to try to find a solution to hopefully satisfy the BOTs if one could not be found. The leaders of the BOTs also agreed to formally write and put their positions forward again for consideration.

Roger Edwards, MLA for the Falkland Islands, led this discussion for the BOTs with various BOT ministers joining in. Richard Harrington, Undersecretary of State for Pensions, led the discussion for the UK Government.

Discussions on health were led by Turks and Caicos Islands Premier Rufus Ewing and Lord Prior of Brampton, who is the Undersecretary of State for Health. Issues discussed included the number of territory patients that can receive treatment in the UK under the NHS, telemedicine, health tourism and other matters to do with health.

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Category: Caribbean, UK, World News

Comments (25)

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  1. anomynous says:

    The UK Government says it has no money but is spends 15 billion on overseas aid or 188 pounds per week for every person in the UK. Get real.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Not sure about the logic here. Surely any increase in anyone’s pension amount should be based on the cost of living in the country the recipient is living. Now, as for the currency exchange rate, which can impact one’s buying power, certainly, well that is entirely a matter of chance for the foreign pensioner to accept.

    • RobtheFox says:

      Even the Grand Chamber of the ECHR recognised that to assess increases on the cost of living in some 200 different countries was unrealistic. The court acknowledged that, as is the case with those countries in the EEA and the fifteen or sixteen randomly selected ones like USA, the Philippines and Macedonia, the criteria used in the UK would be appropriate.
      The currency exchange rates affect all financial transactions involving foreign countries and has never been a part of the claim for pension parity.

  3. Brian Corrigan says:

    The UK takes the position that it cannot afford to pay overseas pensioners the increases because it could make the British government liable to pay similar increases to all citizens living in Commonwealth countries.

    This statement fly’s in the face of the current UK governments policy that it only pays uprated pensions to pensioners who are living in countries where it as a reciprocal agreement or where there is a legal obligation.

    • johnwest300 says:

      Yes well even our voice Ian Blackford and his assistant gone very quiet on this. The APPG supposed to be meeting in November, what more discussions. We want action.
      In any case even those despicable people in Parliament, will probably scrap the triple lock, but should they do this, then everyone should still get the same State Pension at that time.

  4. James Tilley says:

    It is outrageous that the UK continues to discriminate against UK expats and people who have worked in the UK and who are entitled to some UK pension based on the contributions they paid into the NI scheme, irrespective where they have retired to. The Lord Carswell in his dissenting judgement in the Carson case in 2005 opined “There’s no justification for paying some expats less than others “. Some from the International Consortium of British Pensioners [ ] have called for the UK to be suspended from the Commonwealth until the UK government complies with the human rights section of the Commonwealth Charter which states ” We are implacably opposed to all forms of discrimination” , a statement which the UK Government disregards. The Chairman of the UK Parliament’s All Party Parliamentary group’s APPG, Sir Roger Gale has recently written in the Conservative Party website;-
    Join us at and help us have the UK suspended from the Commonwealth, until the UK Government does the right British thing of treating all expats etc ethically, morally, fairly and with equality. Thanks

    • Pit Bull says:

      Nonsense. The Supreme Court considered that the regime was entirely sensible. Grievance are based on a misguided notion that NI contribution somehow created a pot from which payments are made. If pensions want to move abroad and not contribute to UK taxation that is their choice, but they cannot complain about receiving less benefits as a result. To be frank I do not understand why state pensions should be payable at all to non-EU residents.

      • George Morley says:

        Pit Bull, your comment is regrettably much like your name.
        All pensioners wherever they are in the world are assessable to pay tax to the UK and just because an individual leaves does not remove that requirement.
        Secondly, the state pension is not a benefit but an entitlement even though the government include it with benefits in order to devalue it’s proper status and cover their fraudulent section 20 of the Pension Act. A private pension provider could not do this as it would be illegal.
        Thirdly, the state pensions are paid from the National; Insurance Fund which is made up from the contributions of workers and their employers and is only topped up from taxation when a situation arises where the fund is deemed inadequate to cover future expenses. Some of your taxes may have been taken for this in the same way as it has been taken from the current pensioners when they were working. That is the way the system works.
        Your last line is correct as you do not understand the state pension.
        The denial of an indexed pension to any pensioner is immoral and unjust as they have all qualified for it under the same terms and conditions as every other pensioner who does receive the uprating.

      • Jane Davies says:

        You are so wrong…..many overseas pensioners are still paying UK tax and where did it say when one spent a lifetime contributing to the NI scheme that in order to get ones pension one has to live in the EU? If one pays for a pension one is entitled to receive it and where one lives in retirement is irrelevant.

      • Brian Corrigan says:

        Mr Pit Bull, If pensioners living abroad do not as you state, contribute to the UK tax system, can you enlighten me as to why HMC asked me to pay 2,300 pounds to them last year?

      • Joan Carr says:

        In reply to your comments I worked in the UK until I reached retirement age ,I joined my children in Australia after the death of my husband and my pensions were transferred to Australia but I continue to pay UK tax which is deducted before payment is made so I take umbrage at your comment that I should not receive the pensions I worked all my working life for..
        Joan Carr

      • johnwest300 says:

        Pit Bull What unbelievable comments. We have paid the same, if not more contributions and shame you are so ignorant. DISGRACE.

    • johnwest300 says:

      Jim nothing has changed at all and not likely too. Yes much to soft on the approach and DISGUSTING INDEED!!!

    • Angela Prew says:

      Good idea – when?

  5. Jane Davies says:

    The majority of state pensioners who are retired overseas do get annual cost of living increases and 4% are victims of this scandal. The UK government took our NI subscriptions then have the nerve to say that they can’t afford to treat a minority the same as everyone else when ALL are entitled to be treated the same. The state pension belongs to the pensioner who paid for it, it is not government money and they have no right to withhold indexing to any of us. A private pension provider would not be allowed to get away with doing this so why does the UK government? The NI fund has a surplus of around £23 BILLION so the money is there and yet this blatant discrimination continues year after year. Shame on them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ms Davies shows the complete fallacy of the thinking of these spongers. They see the state pension as being paid from a hypothecated fund to which they contributed rather than a state benefit which they are claiming. The legal rulings on this issue made that fallacy clear but the misguided attitudes of the complainers based largely on 1950s and 1960s economic ignorance still persist.

      • Jane Davies says:

        State pensioners are not spongers and a paid for pension is not a benefit. Do you pay into a private pension fund? Do you think when you retire you would be entitled to that pension? Would you be happy to be told by the private pension provider…… sorry you have retired to a place we don’t approve of so you won’t be getting your pension, oh and we are now calling it a benefit, and you won’t be getting a refund on your contributions……would you just suck it up? A pension is a pension whether it is provided by a government scheme or a private scheme the only difference being that the DWP can get away with discrimination and theft but a private provider will fall foul of the law if it tried to do the same.

      • RobtheFox says:

        No Anonymous it is you who do not understand the concept of the NI Scheme and that by contributing each week or month one accrues qualifying years towards one’s pension. The amount of the pension ıs assessed and set by the government of the day and there is no correlation between the financial sum paid in and the amount of one’s pension. It is not a benefit but a pension entitlement and is funded from the NI Fund which is separate from General Taxation and currently has a surplus of £23.5 billion. These pensioners made their contributions on the same terms during their working lives like everyone else and now, like other pensioners, some living in the UK and some also retired overseas also seek justice and fairness and parity in being able to receive their right on the same terms as everyone else.

      • Ivor Needtosay says:

        Spongers? SPONGERS??? So the amount I pay to the UK in taxes from Canada is fallacy is it? Maybe I should submit your comment and tell HNRC to repay me. Do you think that’d work? No – it wouldn’t, because you’re talking nonsense!
        ALL UK citizens are accessible to pay UK tax regardless of where they live.
        I know the this generations NI contributors pay previous generations pensioners – so you haven’t said anything we don’t know already, but a pension IS an entitlement, as Steve Webb said himself in his last year as Pensions Minister.
        So please check your facts before going to print, and then you won’t make such a fool of yourself.

  6. Ivor Needtosay says:

    Surely the position of BOT to adopt would be to say that any UK pensioner who has contributed to the UK National Insurance Fund is entitled to have an indexed pension irrespective of where they live.
    To say otherwise is promoting the discrimination that the current pension policy (Section 20 2014 Pension Act) now unjustly supports.

  7. Upandatem says:

    The real issue here, is that anyone who paid their dues, are entitled to the same treatment as anyone else who did the same. NO MATTER WHERE THEY CHOOSE TO LIVE IN RETIREMENT. Anyone whose pension is frozen because of where they live is in the same boat as everyone else who suffers from discrimination at the hands of the UK government. Please, let’s not differentiate. A united voice is a stronger voice.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Um.None of Caymans public service has seen a bit of inflationary ie cost of living raises for a decade or more now!.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Brits Rule!

    • Pit Bull says:

      Hear, hear!

      • George Morley says:

        To anonymous who wrote “.None of Caymans public service has seen a bit of inflationary ie cost of living raises for a decade or more now!.'”
        That is irrelevant !
        Cost of living wherever you are has no bearing on your pension rights.
        The politicians are breaking their own rules by using discrimination as you can see here if you look at No 5 in the Code of Conduct :
        And how about approaching the UN as Article 25 within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which reads :
        ” Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
        health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food,
        clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and
        the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness,
        disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in
        circumstances beyond his control.”

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