Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Why people don't want to bother to vote.

Written Evidence to the Committee for Political and Constitutional Reform

Here I will address the question
Why do so few British Citizens Abroad register to Vote?

1.  A blunt answer is because they cannot see any point in so doing.
So --- “Why do they not see any point in so doing?”

Answer because they feel that very few politicians take any interest in them.

2.  Why do so few  politicians take little interest in the Citizen Abroad?
Answer  - The MPs are based in UK Constituencies and that is their prime concern. They cannot see why anyone living abroad would have much interest or connection with that constituency.  And they are right generally to take that point of view.

3.  The Citizens Abroad have various reasons for being concerned with British lawmakers, or British politics as it affects them and the British actions and influence in the World.  In short the actions of the GOVERNMENT but not politics at the local level.
Those with whom I communicate, those over retirement age, receive often ALL their income from Britain, many are taxed by Britain, all have exceedingly strong family and cultural ties to Britain. Most are  PROUD of being British .
They have needs and concerns which spring from the very position of being British in another country.  In the EU especially they see themselves as NOT living in a foreign land but in a extension of Britain into Europe.  There is in the EU a kind of nexus of nations, each with ties to another place though rooted in a land which is not that of their birth.  This ‘freedom of movement’ feeling is not understood, it would seem, by the politicians in Whitehall.  We see ourselves as Ambassadors of British Culture though this appears to be a fact unappreciated by the British politicians.

4. Thus there is a great sense of detachment from British Politics because the British Politicians ignores us, is frightened of us as a potential threat to their constituency, does not and cannot understand our feelings.  The Citizen Abroad feels that there is no point in voting for an MP who has no demonstrable interest in his situation.  We feel that we are perceived by various politicians and the media as deserters leaving the land of our birth.

5.  The very existence of  the 15 year limit on voting is a HUGE deterrent in itself to registering. If you know that the vote is going to be taken away after 15 years, then why bother to register before?  One feels the politicians don’t really want you anyway.

6.  One would like to see the possibility of a dialogue with an MP to whom one can relate. 
There ought to be channels of communication on matters of international treaties.  In the EU matters of social co-ordination are most important, yet we get the impression that the elderly Citizens Abroad are considered a nuisance, a  drain on the British economy.  When treaties are considered, what British civil servant or politician  has the knowledge to speak up for the impact on the British Citizen resident in the other country?  There appears to be no-one who can speak for us. 

7. The system whereby Citizens Abroad can only relate to the MP of their last constituency in the UK, results in a diluted conveyance of their thoughts and concerns so that nothing is concentrated in one representation.

1. Remove the 15 year limit. That will inspire some confidence!

Then at some little time later – hopefully not too long -
2. Establish MPs for the Citizen Abroad in a manner similar to France. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

What would happen to the British CItizen if Britain left the EU?

A correspondent has kindly copied the following items from December 2014's French English language newspaper  "The Connexion".
They are very important.  Please circulate onwards.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Overseas Voting - Take ACTION!

Removal of the 15 limit on Registering to vote for British Elections.
It is important that you take action – see below

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds is tabling a 10-minute Bill with the above objective on Tuesday December 2nd 2.45 p.m. House of Commons.  He will be supported by Sir Roger Gale and others.
In advance, on December 1st (room W1 House of Commons) there will be a press conference attended by Harry Shindler MBE, who expects to speak.
The House is normally fairly well attended on a Tuesday but we must try to assure that as many MPs are there as possible.
It would be a highly significant milestone if this presentation were to result in a change of law but it is also a necessary step in testing the opinion of MPs from all the major parties. 
The 15 limit on voting for expatriates is a huge deterrent to registering to vote.
The fact that very few expats register to vote is a huge deterrent to politicians to pass a bill removing the limit -
A classic chicken and egg situation.
Yet it costs nothing in labour, commitment, money to remove it – why is it not done? 
TAKE ACTION please to ensure a good attendance of MPs.
1.  Select email addresses of your ex-constituency MP from here

2.  Send this message to him/her/them. 
Encourage Overseas Voting    On Tuesday December 2nd Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP for The Cotswolds is tabling a 10-minute Bill with the above objective on at  2.30 p.m. House of Commons.  He will be supported by Sir Roger Gale and others. 
Please attend the House and support the removal of the 15 year limit on voting by British Citizens Abroad.
This limit is a massive deterrent to registration to vote. 
The removal will send a message of goodwill to the citizens abroad from the British Parliament – and reassure the citizens abroad that they are valued.

Take action 2. Persuade Friends and Relatives in the UK to send this  to their MPs.

The ten-minute rule Bills are one of the ways in which backbench MPs (private Members) can introduce legislation. However, the process is used more as a means of making a point on the need to change the law on a particular subject as there is little parliamentary time available. They mainly provide the opportunity for MPs to test Parliament's opinion on a particular subject.
The ten minute rule allows a brief introductory speech of no more than ten minutes and one of the same length opposing the motion to be made in the House of Commons after question time on Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the House is likely to be full. Not all Ten Minute Rule Bills are printed.
To register to vote go to..

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Message on Poppy Day - from Harry Shindler

Harry Shindler MBE 
this message to all Members of Parliament
Please will you do likewise?

Click on the image to enlarge- To return press 'esc'
please CIRCULATE widely
The jpg document 'A Thought on Poppy Day' can also be downloaded from

To go to the INDEX of this blog click on Index

Saturday, November 1, 2014


and the deception by the Department of Works and Pensions.
 Below in this mail are two links to documents compiled by one of our team of fighters for democratic justice for British Expatriates - In this instance those of us who are retired and are Resident in Europe.
Roger Boaden M.B.E. (the author)  has had a career working in the Conservative Central Office, London.    Roger organised and managed 3 General Election Campaign Tours for Sir Edward Heath, and 3 for Lady Thatcher, between 1970 and 1987.  Quite clearly Roger knows the workings of the political system in Westminster from the inside.  He now lives in retirement in  the Haute-Vienne.
The first attachment  link is a letter addressed to Steve Webb MP - Minister of State for Pensions,
The second is a further exposure of the manipulation of statistics by the Department of Works and pensions under the leadership of Iain Duncan Smith.  It particularly draws attention to the anomaly of, and blindness of the DWP to the
situation in, Ireland in comparison to the other States of the European Union.

Mailed on behalf of the Campaign
It is so important that as many of us as possible take action in these matters. You can copy and send this mail - down to the ***asterisks**** -and add some preamble of your own to your/some MP at Westminster.
Roger is of course sending his documents to selected politicians by email and also by letter post.
The addresses of politicians are to be found here --

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Brits abroad: get your voice heard!

Brits abroad: get your voice heard!
Register to vote now,
We British expats often feel neglected by our home country. We’re proud to be British, we have strong ties with back home… but we don’t feel our voice is being heard in government about the issues that affect us.
But there is a way: register to vote. You can now register on line, so nothing could be simpler. Do it now, and provided you’re outside the scope of the 15- year rule, you’ll have a voice in the General Election on 7th May 2015. Young people can register from the age of 16, but to be able to vote you must be aged at least 18 on Election Day. Regularly keeping your voter registration up to date with means you’ll also be ready to vote in any referendum on continuing membership of the EU, if one is called, again as long as you’re not prevented from voting by the 15-year rule. To register, all you need is a computer or mobile device with an internet connection, your passport details (number, issuing authority, date of issue), your National Insurance (NI) number, your last postal address in the UK and your current address abroad. The whole process should take less than five minutes. If you haven’t got your NI number to hand, you can ask the site to find it and send it to you, or alternatively identify yourself by other means. All this is clearly explained on the website.
If you’ve lived outside the UK for more than 15 years, you won’t be able to complete your registration, but do try to register anyway, in the hope that the website will log failed registration attempts as well as successful ones.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

British Pensioners abroad –under appreciated and largely ignored.

There are 1,224,610 recipients of the British State Pension who live abroad.  Not all are British Citizens, but the vast majority are so. 
The number living in continental Europe plus Ireland is 478,950 (Feb, 2014)  – nearly 40% of the total number of pensioners abroad and nearly 4% of the total of ALL British State pensioners. Nearly one in ten of all British pensioners live abroad (9.4%).
The emigration of the Pensioners to the other States of the EU has been dramatic.  Here is a graph since 1973.

They go – not necessarily for the weather – The winters are very often far colder than in Britain.  They go because housing is cheaper and they can have more space to continue and develop interests.  They are not any richer than those that stay behind, but they may have more 'get up and go! -gumption!'.  Some survive on little more than their pensions.  Some run into problems no different from elderly people in the UK.  Take this example (I have permission to reproduce it).
I will call the Lady -Isabel
Like most of our friends, when we arrived in France aged 60, we were in good health.  However, as we all know, as the years go on, many of us are beset by various illnesses and the frailty of old age.  I have had several operations and many investigations in hospital for various internal and ophthalmic problems.  My husband had a hip replacement three years ago and two other operations since then.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, for which he is being treated with chemotherapy.  He has suffered horrific and debilitating side effects and I am, of course, at the age of 77, his only carer.  We have no family, either here or in the U.K.  There have been improvements as well as setbacks in the progress of his illness and further chemotherapy is planned.
As you can imagine, this past year has been extremely hard on both of us and it is only with the support of the excellent French health professionals as well as the kindness of our friends and neighbours (both French and British) that we have managed to cope.   We live on a joint pension income of 12,000 pounds sterling per annum and have to draw on our very modest savings to supplement this.   Because of our low income, we downsized seven years ago to a tiny, one-bedroomed house which my husband converted from a carpenter's workshop but his illness and treatment cause him to feel the cold in the extreme and, in spite of the size of our house, I dread to think what our heating bill will be this Winter.  It is so dreadfully unfair that we and others in our situation should  not be allowed to receive the Winter Fuel Payment  from the British government when our compatriots do!  And, of course, there is nothing we can do about it as, having lived in France for more than fifteen years, we are now disenfranchised as well!
Isabel recounts a fairly extreme case which, to a lesser degree, affects so many more  pensioners  throughout Europe.
There are people in Britain who would say ‘You left Britain too bad.”  But the EU is supposed to allow free movement of people.  The UK is responsible, under EU Law, for the welfare of its elderly citizens.  All those 480 thousand citizens are now threatened with being cut off from their support from Britain if Britain withdraws from the Union.
The Pensioner in Europe is already viewed as a second class citizen by the British Civil Service and far too many politicians. But consider the further possibilities if Britain left Europe.
1. Medical support.   This would cease. The UK currently supports the medical care of British pensioners in Europe  to the same level of the cost of care as the citizens where they are resident.  In France for most ordinary care this is to about 60%.  The pensioner has to find the rest.  In the case of Isabel, the cancer care is supported 100%.  A broken leg would not be so – nor a gastric ulcer - nor high blood pressure.
2. The State Pension.  The power in law exists to freeze the annual increase for all State pensions paid abroad, except where special arrangements have been agreed.  These arrangements with the EU would cease if Britain left. Would new arrangements be made? That is at the least uncertain.
3.  The purchase of goods from Britain could be constrained. Import duty could be imposed.
4.   European citizenship would cease and the way would be open for the imposition of  constraints on all  the four free movements of the EU - of people,  money, and any services as well as goods.
BUT even  at this time, as the UK is part of the EU, the British Government through the Civil Service treat us as lesser citizens, as follows.
5. The Civil Service is at this moment pleading for the removal of the UK tax free allowance on income sourced from the UK.  - that means that pensioners who reply on income from  UK property rents or UK bank interest or the small group of those who have pensions non-exportable for tax would lose 20p. in every single  £1 of income.  The situation would be intolerable for some  and they would have to return to Britain and create an increased expenditure on the State.
6. The DWP  led by Iain Duncan Smith pleads for the Winter Fuel Payment to be removed from the citizens who live in certain so-called hot countries (e.g. France) – Isabel’s case shows the unfairness of that! 
7. Investments – Most British pensioners in Europe have some savings in British banks and/or other British institutions. In spite of the EU promise of freedom of movement and services, banks including Santander, Barclays and Lloyds have placed restrictions on the investments or accounts of British Citizens in continental Europe. This, in spite of the EU Commission pleading for the necessity of nationals to retain such accounts.
8.  The situation with regard to pensions of the military, police, teachers and most other public service workers is unfortunate.  They all, by law pay income tax to Britain. In most cases if they paid this tax to the State in which they are resident they would be better off.  None can receive the tax benefits which accrue indirectly through age  (such as the employment of a home-help in France which attracts a 50% tax credit to those who pay income tax to France).
9.  Surely it should be obvious that many British emigrants. pensioners or otherwise, have family ties to Britain.  They will be concerned  for the welfare of grandchildren or parents.
10. One must remember that the British Government acts 'in the name of'' all British Citizens.  So it is that in the activities of  war and foreign aid all British Citizens have some interest.
11. Lastly, trivial perhaps, but indicative of the attitude of the British Civil Service, the cost of passports of British Citizens resident abroad have been disproportionately hiked .
But there is more…
The pensioners in Europe only wish to have a peaceful life and enhance their way of life as their circumstances allow.  This is what being in the EU means.  For Britain to turn its back on them is disgraceful. 
Would it not bring scorn and anger on the government if any pensioner resident in Britain who has given a life time of work in service to the community; whose income entirely comes from pensions and savings grounded in the British economy; who buys goods within the British economy; were not allowed to be represented in the British parliament?   That is the situation that exists now for the expatriate pensioner in Europe.  It is exceedingly difficult for the British Citizen abroad to express their views to the politicians in Britain.  Few politicians have any interest in the Citizen Abroad, though most Citizens abroad have a profound interest in the activities of the British Government – both at home and of course, abroad.

Democracy is the Representation of the people, by the people and for the people. – Oops – Unless you are a Pensioner who has the gumption to take the opportunity given by the EU to widen your horizons and even at the age of sixty plus to move across the channel, or even further.
One is allowed to vote in the constituency where one last resided for up to 15 years, That is not enough – The eleven points enumerated above demonstrate that a much closer democratic relationship is called for with politicians who understand the circumstances of the British Citizen abroad,
It is not helpful to be kicked in the butt by the Government of your own country, nor by the unnecessarily blinkered and prejudiced compatriots at ‘home’ unfortunately led on by a blinkered press and blinkered political parties.
[Note - comments are not usually accepted by this blog. You can write to the author - see address at the start ]
This article can be freely circulated in whole or in part  as long as correct acknowledgements to me are given.
Brian Cave - Pensioners Debout!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Movement of British State Pensioners throughout the World

Movement of British State Pensioners to other EU  STATES and other countries of the world
The first Chart below shows the increase of  British State Pensioners who moved to other States of the EU between 1973 to 2014.

To view the graph larger click on the graph- to return press 'esc'
The table lower down gives figures for movements  in Europe and other parts of the world. Those countries with a * have State pensions increased each year - the others have the British State pensions frozen.

Some observations.
New Zealand
The largest number of retired British citizens emigrating during 2013/14 went to New ZealandIn N.Z the British State pension is frozen  - but......
New Zealand residents are entitled to receive NZ Super (the old age pension) if they satisfy all of the following conditions. They must:
  • have reached State pension age (currently age 65);
  • be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident;
  • live in New Zealand;
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least 10 years since age 20; or
  • have lived in New Zealand for at least 5 years since age 50.
Residence in a country with which New Zealand has reciprocal social security arrangements (like Australia and the UK) counts as residence in New Zealand.
---------------  New Zealand is moreover the most ‘English’ of all destinations.

This is probably a significant reason why the influx of British State Pensioners is constantly rising in New Zealand.
 CANADA - SOUTH AFRICA - AUSTRALIA  In these countries the State Pension is frozen and their appears to be no adequate compensation scheme to offset this.  No doubt this is why the numbers are dropping.
PAKISTAN and JAMAICA and INDIA - Although Jamaica has non-frozen pensions, the numbers have dropped year on year.  Pakistan also shows a year on year decline.- possibly there is a cultural reason?
India (with frozen pensions) shows an increase - again is the reason cultural, but opposite to that of Pakistan and more akin to the reasons why so many native stock Britons retire abroad especially to culturally similar countries?
ITALY and USA In  MAY 2013 ( see the last column of figures) these countries achieved a higher figure and have since declined by tiny numbers.
NEW ZEALAND, IRELAND and FRANCE have received the greatest number of immigrant retired British citizens since MAY 2013 with 3480, 2140 and 1740 people respectively.
N.B. not all British State Pensioners are British Citizens, this is probably chiefly true of the Irish situation.
Remember that these figures include the death rate (which is fairly high amongst pensioners). so the changes in numbers reflect the fact that movements from the UK are a good deal higher than those shown.
The overall percentage of British pensioners abroad has risen gradually year on year and is now 9.49%.

Country of  Immigration % change 2002-2014 Number in 2002 Number in Feb 2013 Numbers in May 2013 Number in Feb 2014 % change 2013-2014 difference between May 2013 and Feb 2014
Jamaica* -39.0% 23420 17690 17560 16850 -5.0% -710
Pakistan -47.6% 5920 4120 4100 4010 -2.7% -90
Canada 4.9% 144830 154870 155040 152250 -1.7% -2790
South Africa 6.3% 34960 37670 37780 37330 -0.9% -450
Australia 10.4% 224210 250770 250990 250300 -0.2% -690
Italy* 21.1% 30080 38160 38170 38130 -0.1% -40
USA* 14.3% 120350 140270 140520 140410 0.1% -110
India 25.2% 3950 5190 5210 5280 1.7% 70
Spain* 55.1% 48000 106280 106850 106890 0.6% 40
Cyprus* 57.0% 7920 18270 18380 18440 0.9% 60
Ireland* 30.1% 92520 129320 130190 132330 2.3% 2140
Germany* 33.4% 27350 39990 40330 41070 2.6% 740
Israel* 27.2% 3640 4920 4950 5000 1.6% 50
Greece* 61.9% 2190 5600 5650 5750 2.6% 100
Portugal* 52.3% 4760 9680 9780 9980 3.0% 200
France* 68.2% 19770 59620 60350 62090 4.0% 1740
N.Z. 34.9% 38640 55990 55900 59380 5.7% 3480
Switzerland* 65.1% 3910 10700 10820 11190 4.4% 370
Netherlands* 47.9% 6240 11420 11600 11980 4.7% 380

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


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!

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 -
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

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  ---
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 –
View more than 640  comments from expatriates who want the vote here.