The Conservative Party has used its annual conference in Birmingham as an opportunity to reassure British citizens living in the EU of the future of their expat pensions.
Speaking at the event Ester McVey, the Secretary of state for the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) said, “We will ensure that people with UK pensions that have moved to the EU will have their pensions protected.
“We will provide a triple lock on people with UK pensions living in the European Union. We are delivering a private pension revolution, with more people than ever contributing to their pensions.”
Currently, as a member of the EU, the UK has an agreement in place with the European Economic Area guaranteeing British citizens residing in the EU the benefit from any increase in the State Pension made in line with the cost of living; there have been fears, largely expressed in the more sensationalist elements of the press, that this will come to an end at the time of Brexit.
However, while speaking at the conference McVey told her party that expat pension rights were not at risk and that expats living in the EEA would receive the same entitlement to the “triple-lock” State Pension increases as residents in the UK. Effectively, this means that pensioners receive a rise in their benefit of whichever is greatest: the earnings rises, price rises or 2.5 per cent.
However, it was notable that McVey failed to provide similar reassurance over the future of private expat pensions, which, in the light of some recent ill-advised comments from the Association of British Insurers, was something of a missed opportunity.