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UK Govt ex-pat pensioners triple lock promise useless unless EU reciprocates

11 December 2018

The government has published a Brexit policy paper in which it has pledged to increase the state pension of UK nationals living in the EU in the event of no deal, but only if the EU reciprocates.

In its paper, Brexit secretary Stephen Barclay outlines: “Where it is in our control, the UK will continue to preserve certain rights of UK nationals in the EU, for example, by continuing to pay an uprated UK state pension to eligible UK nationals living in the EU.”

However, if the EU as a bloc doesn’t reciprocate, the UK will need to strike individual deals with each of the 27 member states. If a deal isn’t reached, either with the EU as a whole or individual member states, the concern for nationals living abroad is the valuable pension ‘triple lock’ increases could be lost.

AJ Bell said around 470,000 UK nationals living in the EU risk having their state pensions frozen as a result.

Tom Selby, senior analyst at the firm, said: “Today’s statement lays bare the uncertainty facing almost half a million UK nationals who live in the EU and are currently eligible for valuable state pension increases.

“At the moment these people receive the generous ‘triple-lock’ uprating, meaning their state pension rises in line with the highest of average earnings, inflation or 2.5%. While the Government has strongly signalled its desire to continue paying these increases in the event of a No Deal Brexit, this will only happen if the EU reciprocates by uprating the state pensions of EU nationals living in the UK.”

Selby said if no deal is reached with the EU, and the UK must negotiate individually with each member state, it could result in a painfully drawn out process “with no guarantee of success.”

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