British expats in Europe do not have to fear the freezing of their state pensions after Brexit, says the UK government.
Any British state pensioner living in the EU after Britain pulls out will continue to receive cost-of-living increases to their pension as normal.
The fear was state pensions would not increase with inflation from March 2019.
But those concerns are now allayed for expats in the European Economic Area (EEA) – which covers all EU states plus Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Pensioners in Switzerland will also receive the annual increase.
No frozen state pensions for Brits in Europe
Tens of thousands of state pensioners in former Commonwealth countries have suffered this fate, which eats away at their spending power.
Popular expat destinations such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand will not be included in the measure to uprate the state pension even though they have campaigned against the unfairness for years.
Increasing the state pension in line with inflation is one of the few points British and EU negotiators have agreed so far in the Brexit talks.
But the news is a relief for hundreds of thousands of British state pensioners across Europe.
The negotiators also rubber-stamped rules that national insurance contributions made in the EU will continue to count as qualifying years towards the full British state pension.
MPs still to vote on measure
James Walsh, of the trade body Pensions & Lifetime Savings Association, said: “The UK and EU have agreed that the UK will continue paying and uprating state pensions to UK citizens living in EU countries after Brexit – and vice versa.
“This means, for example, that British pensioners living in Spain will continue to get the same annual inflation increases they would have got in the UK. The same will apply to Spanish pensioners resident in Britain.
“The fact they have been agreed so early in the process indicates the measure is uncontroversial which will come as a relief to pensioners across the EU.”
Although agreed across the negotiating table, the state pension cost of living increase still must be ratified by MPs in Westminster and the EU, which is not expected to be a problem.