British pensioners living in the Caribbean overseas territories do not receive the same annual cost-of-living increases as those in the Crown Dependencies or British retirees in Bermuda and Gibraltar.
During this week’s meeting between U.K. politicians and overseas territories leaders, Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin and other leaders raised the issue and noted that British citizens who live in the Caribbean territories should be treated the same as those who live in the U.K. or the dependencies of Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.
“It comes down to the question of what constitutes a British citizen, which we all are,” Premier McLaughlin said.
Mr. McLaughlin said eligibility for U.K. pensions is available only to those who paid into that system; individuals do not earn those payments simply by being citizens of British Overseas Territories.
The U.K. government has stated in the past that it cannot afford to pay the overseas territories the increases, since that could mean they would have to pay similar annual increases to British pensioners living in Commonwealth countries.
However, he said British retirees who live in the Caribbean territories should not be forced to seek welfare assistance from the local governments just because their paychecks will not keep up with inflation.
“We are not residing in some foreign land. The British Overseas Territories have been owned by Britain for hundreds of years.”
“For that theory to have any relevant basis would mean the overseas territories are not British territories,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We are not residing in some foreign land. The British Overseas Territories have been owned by Britain for hundreds of years.”
British Overseas Territories director for the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Peter Hayes, said he would ask U.K. attorneys to attempt to find a solution, and asked that the territories state their positions on the matter in writing.
The U.K.’s basic state pension is a weekly payment made to those who reached pensionable age before April 6, 2016, according to the British government website.
The most anyone can currently receive is 119.30 pounds per week and, to receive anything, a worker must have paid into national insurance contributions.
The state pension amounts increase each year by 2.5 percent, or by the average percentage growth in wages or by the growth in the U.K. consumer price index, whichever is higher.