This is a fright­en­ing prospect for the thou­sands who have worked in Bri­tain

Irish Independent - - News - Char­lie We­ston

IN COM­MON with many peo­ple in this coun­try, both my par­ents worked in Bri­tain in the 1950s and 1960s. My late fa­ther spent 10 years as a ra­dio of­fi­cer in the Bri­tish mer­chant navy. For this he got a good de­fined ben­e­fit pen­sion when he hit 65. He was also en­ti­tled to a Bri­tish state pen­sion.

My mother, a nurse, did her mid­wifery train­ing in Scot­land and worked there when she was qual­i­fied as a mid­wife. This en­ti­tles her to a Bri­tish state pen­sion. She gets a ster­ling amount paid into her AIB bank ac­count here ev­ery month, and we file a tax re­turn for this, for her, ev­ery Novem­ber.

There are thou­sands of peo­ple in this coun­try who are in re­ceipt of pen­sions from their time work­ing in bars, on the roads, in the hos­pi­tals, on the buses and in the of­fices of Eng­land, Scot­land and Wales.

It is known that around 120,000 Ir­ish peo­ple are in re­ceipt of a Bri­tish state pen­sion.

Many more are en­ti­tled to one but may not be draw­ing it down be­cause they are not aware they could get it.

There are no clear fig­ures on the num­bers also get­ting pri­vate pen­sions paid to them, which would in­clude both Ir­ish and Bri­tish na­tion­als.

Now it has emerged that Brexit poses a threat to these pen­sion ar­range­ments.

A lead­ing pen­sion provider has writ­ten to its Ire­land­based mem­bers warn­ing them it may no longer be able to make pay­ments into bank ac­counts in this coun­try once the UK leaves the Euro­pean Union, which is sched­uled for next March.

The As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tish In­sur­ers has is­sued sim­i­lar warn­ings.

The in­surer, Pen­sion In­sur­ance Cor­po­ra­tion, has ex­plained that it is cur­rently us­ing EU “pass­port­ing” ar­range­ments that allows Bri­tish firms to pro­vide fi­nan­cial ser­vices, such as pay­ing a pen­sion over­seas, to any­where in the EU.

It ad­vises its mem­bers here to open a UK bank ac­count. But that is not some­thing that is pos­si­ble you do not have a UK ad­dress.

This is a fright­en­ing prospect.

It means peo­ple here may no longer have their pen­sion paid into an Ir­ish bank ac­count. In­stead, the pay­ments would be paid into a UK bank, which they will not be able to ac­cess un­less they have a UK ac­count.

As this is­sue is set to af­fect re­tired Bri­tish peo­ple liv­ing in the EU, the hope is a last-minute deal will be done to sort it out.

Although there has been a lot of in­com­pe­tence shown in the UK’s Brexit prepa­ra­tions so far, sense will just have to pre­vail and a deal of some sort will be done.

It could be that pen­sion cheques will be posted here for a pe­riod if a deal is not done by the time Brexit hap­pens.

For now though, there is no need to panic. if

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