Friday, January 1, 2016

INDEX and beginning

The future date above is a device to keep this item on top.
Click on any starred items to connect to the links 
You can register for a *GOOGLE ALERT (enter Pensioners Debout! as search item). You then will be automatically informed of any new posting.
*THE FOUR CONCERNS OF THIS BLOG* -
Freedom of Movement (includes health matters), Political Representation, Double Taxation, Stabilisation of the £.
*Representation of BRITISH CITIZENS*
**Read why all expatriates should be represented at Westminster
and why it is absolutely vital for those who live in the EU.**
Were the British Public to vote the UK out of the EU an abyss could open under expatriates in the European Union. They would not be consulted - Unless The British citizen gets to VOTE.. 

2. Read and Act - Please.  
LATEST GOVERNMENT PETITION _ PLEASE SIGN
Originated by the Editor of The Connexion, France
*This activity has created a large number of articles and some radio interviews around the world - they are listed here. *

 The latest Posts of importance.  
* The British Citizens in Europe - Referendum. June 2014
* Who needs the vote? Government and/or Voter? Feb 2014
* Winter Fuel payment in Europe - The manipulation of statistics  by the Dept.of Work & Pensions
Health costs and democracy in Europe
*  The Referendum in/out Europe 
Anger-amongst-britons-abroad.
*  Brussels 5th September meeting with the EU Commission
* The Winter Fuel Payment and the VOTE August 2013
* Referendum Bill - If Britain leaves the EU what then? July 2013
* The winter Fuel Payment part two  June 2013


UPDATES  
 * How do British Pensioners live in France (Updated December 2012)







Correspondent list -- An 'update'  email is sent approximately every 2/3 months (or if some development warrants it) to all who email the site.  All email addresses are 'hidden' and anonymity is hoped to be always achieved. If you wish to be on this correspondent list,  please email.  Nothing is asked of you, other than your goodwill. 
 IF ONE DOES NOTHING _ NOTHING GETS DONE!
There have been  .34000 visits [and >64,000 pageviews] 
Numbers count when petitioning politicians. When letters are sent to politicians it is immensely helpful to say that one has the support of xxxx expatriates. So please give support. Encouragement is also a great boost to morale! Nothing will change without your support!
One should not expect fast movement but please keep in touch and never surrender.
Short Biography of the Organiser *Brian Cave*
Your thoughts on everything would be welcome. One relies on feedback to improve this site. No contribution is an unnecessary contribution.

And please make a nuisance of yourself in Whitehall and Westminster.
Constant dripping wears away stone. Do not underestimate the value of the constant drip!

Please disseminate information about this site, inform your friends and media outlets, and keep watching!
If you do not stand up for yourself, others will surely keep you down!

Remember - Please tell others about this blog - and please write to the politicians - you must do this if anything ever is to change. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BRITISH BANKS PUT THE SQUEEZE ON EXPATS



British Banks are doing their best to get rid of customers who are UK citizens but resident overseas.  There are about 5 to 6 million who fit that category, of whom about 800,00 or so are believed to live elsewhere in the EU.   
Instance:- Santander Bank UK  summarily and without prior notice cancelled Debit Cards.  In a subsequent letter they maintained that they were not going to replace Debit Cards because of the high risk of interception and the likelihood of fraudulent use 'in your country'
People challenged this position by writing to the CEO of Santander UK who passed the issue to an Executive Complaints Department for adjudication.  In the event, the person doing the review came down on the side of the customers, and some have received replacement cards by courier with the promise of PIN numbers to follow.  The reviewer also commented that although the policy had been adopted thanks to some document or another that was circulated to all banks at the end of last year, the policy has now changed and (certainly in the case of Greece) the phrase 'your country' has been removed from the list.
In an interesting twist, however, when speaking to the reviewer he said that the bank had 'made a mistake' in allowing people overseas to continue operating their accounts and in the official letter following the review is the passage 'It is also stipulated in the general Terms and Conditions of your account, that we are a U.K. based bank and do not facilitate customers who live outside the U.K.' 
This last line is the crux of the matter.  As expats will know, it is difficult if not impossible for expats who don't have a UK address to open a UK bank account, change an existing account for a better one, get a credit card etc.  In some cases, private pension providers will only put money into a UK bank account. 

N.B. The EU has four basic 'freedoms' core to the existence and continuation of the
UNION. One is the freedom of movement of SERVICES and CAPITAL
But no constraints exist on banks to honour these principles!
The Competition and Marketing Authority in the UK is currently looking at the way in which banks operate Personal Current Accounts (their deadline for submissions is 17th September) so one must write to them at
AND register any concerns you have over your own personal situation.  The more people who complain, the more likely the matter will be taken seriously.  Hopefully, the CMA will remind banks of their obligations, as operators in the UK of the UK 's membership of the EU and the need to allow unfettered movement of money as well as people and goods throughout the EU at least! "
In all our interests please react, write as above and re-circulate.

As an additional note -I add the UK banks should pay interest gross and thus one can avoid UK tax - Santander has refused this on one occasion known to me. 
To obtain Form R105 to obtain interest without tax deducted at source. Helpful if one is not required to complete a UK tax return.
  I am grateful to a correspondent for the above information.
** Another reason why the expats should have the vote!
Unless this following petition FOR REPRESENTATION in Parliament gets another 7,000 signatures within the month till September 2014– it will fail!   http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55085

Monday, August 11, 2014

The United Kingdom Taxation and the Expatriate.



Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs [HMRC] have released a consultation document which would if implemented create financial hardship for quite a few British Citizens who live abroad.
It can be read at -  goo.gl/Jj5D2j
The thought behind this is to remove the tax-free personal allowances on income which arises in the United Kingdom paid to Citizens abroad.
It has two errors.
It assumes that  tax credits granted in any State of residency will completely offset the tax paid in the UK. It also seems to assume that the UK sourced income is not significant to the recipients.  How wrong they are.
The Double Taxation Conventions
Attention must be drawn  to the misleading wording in the paper .
Section  6.2  states : –
However most of these individuals would be able to claim relief overseas either in the form of a credit for tax paid in the UK or exemption from tax in their home state.# Therefore most individuals would not generally pay more tax overall than they do now***. However this will depend on the relative level of tax rates and allowances between the UK and their country of residence.
# if the taxpayer specifically claims under a double taxation treaty!
***This Statement is sending/implying false information-  Under the French/UK  Double Taxation Convention (and indeed most others) the tax relief on tax paid in the UK IS NOT the actual tax paid but the tax that would have been paid if the income had been taxed in France.  As it is, those who have their pensions taxed ‘only’ in the UK are quite clearly disadvantaged##.  Such disadvantage would be very greatly exaggerated for other recipients of private pensions, earned income, rents etc. from the UK  if the personal allowance were removed. It is extremely unlikely that the tax credit given against a French Tax demand on world-wide income, in respect of tax paid in the UK is ever equal to the tax paid in the UK.
Thereby any resident who pays tax which would fall under a Double Taxation Treaty would lose out, because of the different levels of tax regime. The removal of the Personal Allowances would exacerbate this.
##The elderly expatriate in France who receives all their income from the UK, the majority of which in taxed in the UK is currently disadvantaged because any tax credits achieved in France [e.g for home helps – charitable support] cannot be set against the taxes paid in the UK, but only against a minimal tax liability in France.  They therefore pay a bundle of tax to the UK , none to France, and overall far more than if they were only taxed in France on all the income.

The Nature of the Citizen Abroad and the importance of this income.
HMRC need awareness of the nature of the citizen abroad especially in the EU.
Many citizens who live in other States of the EU are ordinary folk.  They may have retired on little more than the State pension. Some (perhaps many) have retained a property in the UK and rented it out to get an income.  They retain the property just in case they need to return to the UK at a later stage in life.
This rent on their property is important to them.  It could well exceed 40% of their income Let us say that it brings in £10,000 a year.  If the tax-free personal allowance is removed the tax authority will take £2,000 and their income is reduced to £8,000.
These citizens are just ordinary folk who I fear do not understand the taxation system and its convolutions.  I am aware that many still have their State pensions taxed in the UK although they could get them ‘exported for tax purposes’.  The same is true of  Bank interest.  They could request the Bank to pay the interest gross so that it avoids UK tax.  Neither HMRC nor the Banks tell them how to do this.  Some Banks are reluctant or refuse to pay the interest gross.  The average taxpayer badly needs simplicity and guidance. It is already apparent that various non-residents have only a superficial grasp of where they should be paying tax and how to deal with the various tax forms from two State tax authorities.  The fact that HMRC says that 400,000 expatriate Citizens  ‘claim’ the  personal allowance on UK income reflects this confusion. Such insouciant citizens could well be in for a very great shock.  They are not evil people. They are just average people and not that aware of the financial complications  invented by the civil service.
Some private pensions have to be taxed in the UK.  These will also suffer from a greatly increased tax burden if these tax allowances are removed.  As said above  tax credits will not allay such taxation in the UK.

B Low Incomes  HMRC, I repeat, has not understood the varied lives of those British citizens resident in France who have low incomes emanating from the UK. 
There are those who earn income from the UK and are thereby taxed on that in the UK.  They may offer a service of some kind (e.g consultancy), or mark exam papers or sell goods which they make themselves. They may even ‘commute’ on occasions to perform some function.  There are those people  who ‘work from home’ and that home could easily be in France or elsewhere. They are non-UK-resident but otherwise are no different from a ‘home worker’ in the UK.
There are those who have some form of investments which pay interest in the UK.
A number with low incomes have been informed by HMRC that they are ‘non taxable’ because of their low incomes and need no longer complete a tax return.
Their income is taxable also in France but the French tax system is favourable  and  they lie below the tax thresholds in France also.
It may be difficult for tax officials to understand  but many people are already in a state of confusion where what income should be declared to their national State or their State of Residence.  The Tax departments lay down rules which are difficult for the average person, especially the elderly, to understand and this policy consultation document is compounding this confusion of bureaucracy. Remember further that large numbers of people, especially the elderly,  do not have computers nor access to the internet and have little understanding of how tax laws operate across the State borders in Europe. It would be far wiser for tax departments in collaboration across the EU to simplify the rules rather than complicate them.



Complications  -- The ratio of income  arising in the UK and abroad
A suggestion is made (see section 5.2) that the expatriate tax payer might declare how much income is raised abroad and how much arises within the UK.  The reference to  %  of income received from here and there, UK or elsewhere, and minimal income limits  is frankly onerous.  It is a step into new territory and a step too far.  Consider a retired couple who let out part of their property  for holiday rental in France.  Why should they tell the UK tax authorities what income they receive from that minor income?   This is getting towards an expectation that all British expatriate citizens should disclose their world-wide income to the British tax authority. 
And if the ratio should be £1 either side of the threshold ratio it would mean a cliff   face in the amount of tax demanded.  i.e a difference of  possibly £2,000 or more.
***********************
One can write to HMRC to comment and protest..
 ( before the 9th October 2014) to

A draft letter  along with a repeat of the material here  (EXPANDED) can be read at
www.lefourquet.net/90Cdraft.doc

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The British Citizens the British Government ignores.



The British Minister for Europe [David Lidington]
Gave a speech in Berlin on 25 June 2014.
Mr. Lidington’s speech elaborates on the relationship between the National Governments and the EU Commission and the EU Parliament.
Below are five sentences from the speech which have significance for the democratic standing of British Citizens in the EU.
1.      We must recognise that it is national systems which enjoy greatest legitimacy with voters.
2.      We need to work within the grain of what people understand.
3.      And that is why we agree with those who are calling for a greater role for national governments in the Council and for national parliaments in the EU’s functioning. 
4.      National parliaments have significant expertise to bring to the legislative process, ensuring outcomes that are more relevant to communities by involving those who know them best – their representatives.
5.      National parliaments have a positive role to play, both sharing their expertise with EU institutions and helping citizens to feel connected with the EU.
Comment –
How can the British National Government claim to speak in the interest of all the British Citizens?
Concerning this 'positive' role national governments should play, the British Government  sets a very poor example in refusing its citizens full representation, including their national right to vote after they have lived 15 years in other EU member countries.
How is this helping such expatriate British citizens feel more connected with the EU, particularly if after 15 years they have no voice in any future referendum on UK membership?

A fuller quote including these five sentences and the full speech can be read via this link

What you should do – Send this to politicians in Westminster.
Addresses of politicians are found…


Monday, May 26, 2014

UKIP and the British Expatriate in the European Union.


Crisis for the Expatriate in Europe?

Why has UKIP been so successful?
Probably because in Britain, the public is disenchanted by their experiences with the traditional politicians.  [See also below **Nigel Farage**]
Expatriates haven’t had a chance to express an opinion. Many can’t vote! Most of the rest do not bother. Amongst them it would seem ‘apathy’ rules.  The Government’s Electoral Commission has made efforts to get to them to register to vote.  Petitions originating in Spain and France to awaken a political consciousness have become damp squibs.  As a leading example, a petition begun by  the editor of a French English language newspaper (the Connexion)  has attracted only just over 3400 signatures – It needs tens of thousands of signatures. Why do expats not claim the right to vote!  It is in their interest to do so.
There are over 60,000 British pensioners living in France [106,000 in Spain; and another 140,000 throughout Europe excluding Ireland] -these groups have the most to lose if Farage’s UKIP  gains ascendancy in Britain.  Why have not these 300,000 signed these petitions? Is it that they are ignorant of the situation?  By doing so they could gain power to protect their pensions, investments, health care costs and other aspects of their lives.   But it seems they cannot be bothered; they are apathetic and ‘cannot see the point’ in voting for a politician in the UK.  Quite probably few also have bothered to vote for the MEP lists for the Euro-Parliament.
You can see a reason for this appalling apathy.  As things are, there is only a handful of British politicians who show the slightest interest at all in the welfare of Britons abroad. Those few of us who have written to MPs get answers saying ‘The government has decided this or that.’  They never show a willingness to debate, to listen.  It is surely necessary that they are forced to take an interest.
Turning attention to the younger generation of expatriates, remember also,– they can only live in the EU by agreement with the EU. For these reasons (and more), some representatives for expatriates are necessary at Westminster.
If the Farage bandwagon continues to its desired end the situation could be most uncomfortable for British people living in other Countries of the EU.  A referendum flying on the words of Nigel Farage could spell disaster for them
If the expatriates fail to have political protection, then they are not masters of their lives. If the EU fails for us, we have no defence.
The situation is dangerous.

**Farage and cultural change.**
Nigel Farage is undoubtedly exuberant and is quite a positive and likeable chap.  He seems to be listening to the mood of the people – in Britain.  That mood, partly arising from political disenchantment would appear also to arise from discomfort at cultural change in Britain brought about by immigration. But a similar argument can operate in reverse in France and parts of Spain.
In France, am I odd in feeling uncomfortable when one hears a large number of English voices  in a small town?  Is it possible that some French people could also be uncomfortable with this cultural change?  Is this also true in Spain? Cyprus?

The  danger for British Citizens in Farage’s desire to exit the EU?
British Citizens would cease to be European Citizens!  That is truly serious.
The Briton would no longer have the right to freely live and move in Europe.
Euro laws would no longer operate to preserve the right to ensure that British State pensions be paid in full in Europe.  All benefits would cease to be protected,
Health care support would cease.
The French (or Spanish, Cypriots etc.) could impose restrictions on foreigners in almost any manner. This would impinge of the lives of both older and younger generations.  Emigration from the UK to Europe would be seriously affected.
All Euro States would become as foreign to the British State as any other country in the world.
In brief it is most urgent that Britons abroad in Europe  are heard and listened to in the British parliament.
All who value the present situation and their ability to live in the European Union should sign this petition of the Editor of the Connexion.
And also this one  --- www.europeancitizensabroad.eu
If you entitled to  register to vote in the UK elections – do so here
It is desirable that people contact MPs – even the Prime Minister- in Britain.   Get an address from this link -
You could forward this item… But the low number of signatures on the petitions simply affirms in their minds that the matter is of no importance to us. 
If  Farage has his way in some future referendum,  our world could be become greatly changed, and we will have no say at all.  Remember that.
(Brian Cave – lefourquet@gmail.com)
View more than 640  comments from expatriates who want the vote here. http://polldaddy.com/poll/5099387/?view=results