Costa Blanca News (North Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - By Jack Troughton jtroughton@cb­

BRI­TISH Am­bas­sador to Spain, Si­mon Man­ley has re­as­sured ex­pats they should con­tinue to see an an­nual increase to their pen­sions post-Brexit.

He turned to so­cial me­dia on Mon­day to ad­dress a cen­tral is­sue which af­fects many Bri­tish res­i­dents, and is part of the on­go­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions with the Euro­pean Union.

A week ago, Mr Man­ley wrote an open let­ter – widely re­ported in the me­dia – to Bri­tish na­tion­als in Spain con­cern­ing the talks be­tween the Bri­tish gov­ern­ment and the EU and the UK’s de­par­ture from the bloc, stress­ing the is­sue of cit­i­zens’ rights for both sides were “a pri­or­ity”.

On Face­book, he said in the of­fer put for­ward by Bri­tain on June 26: “We said we wanted to con­tinue to see the an­nual in- crease to the Bri­tish state pen­sion for those who live in the EU - a process known as up­rat­ing – and we wanted to see re­cip­ro­cal agree­ment that is­sue.”

Mr Man­ley added: “So if you are a Bri­tish state pen­sioner liv­ing in Spain, you should con­tinue to see an an­nual increase to your Bri­tish state pen­sion even after we leave the EU.”

He said ne­go­ti­a­tions with “our EU part­ners”, in­clud­ing the is­sue of cit­i­zens’ rights, re­sumed at the end of Au­gust and ex­pats would con­tinue to be in­formed on the out­come of the talks.

A to­tal of 550,000 Bri­tish pen­sion­ers, 4% of all re­cip­i­ents of the State Pen­sion and half the pen­sion­ers liv­ing over­seas, are cur­rently ad­versely af­fected by the gov­ern­ment’s frozen pen­sion pol­icy.

This means that rather than the an­nual up­rat­ing re­ceived by UK pen­sion­ers their pen­sion is frozen at the level first re­ceived for the rest of their life abroad.

In prac­tice this means that their state pen­sion de­creases in real terms value year-on-year.

More than 95% of the ‘frozen’ pen­sion­ers live in Com­mon­wealth coun­tries such as Aus­tralia, Canada, South Africa and New Zealand, but also In­dia, Pak­istan, Bangladesh, many Caribbean is­lands and all African coun­tries.

The coun­tries where the pen­sion is in­creased each year in­clude the USA, all EU coun­tries, Bar­ba­dos, Ber­muda, Is­rael, Ja­maica, Mau­ri­tius and the Philip­pines.

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