Elderly British expats in the EU face the threat of eroding income and a life of poverty abroad after their retirement plans were upended by the Brexit vote.
The pound has already collapsed in value against the euro, and annual rises in the state pensions might be frozen if no deal is struck on this issue with former EU partners.
If you retired to another EU country your state pension rises every year, just as it does if you live in the UK. But increases could halt post-Brexit, as they have for expats in many other parts of the world – forcing many to struggle with the cost of living or give up and return home.
That’s assuming British expats are allowed to carry on living in the EU. Mass expulsions seem unlikely, but with opposition to freedom of movement a major reason for the Brexit vote, the possibility can’t be ruled out if this becomes a sticking point during negotiations.
State pensions could certainly become a big issue of contention, because at present the 472,000 people who have retired to other EU countries get automatic annual increases in their state pensions, while 550,000 who settled in certain other parts in the world have been cut adrift.