LAST CHANCE FOR BRITISH EXPATS & ELIGIBLE AUSSIES TO SECURE BRITISH PENSION BENEFIT
ENDS 6TH APRIL 2019
The delay in concluding Britain’s exit from the European Union provides a potential retirement benefit for Aussies and British expats who have worked legally in Britain for more than three years.
This could deliver those eligible hundreds of £pounds of extra British Pension payments on retirement.
Several years ago, the British Government set up a pension purchase discount scheme for low-income earners. This scheme will close on 6 April 2019, so you’ll need to hurry to secure the benefits of this scheme.
The discount scheme – known as the Class 2 national insurance contribution scheme – allows people who have already qualified for a British pension to buy extra pension entitlements at a much lower rate than the contribution amounts that millions of workers in Britain and Northern Ireland must pay.
Class 2 contributions also provide a way for people who have worked in Britain in the past to qualify for the pension, even if they have not made the minimum 10 years of national insurance contributions necessary to get the basic British Pension.
A British resident would have to pay £762 ($1386) in the 2018-19 financial year to voluntarily boost their British Pension annual entitlement by £246 ($448). This contribution arrangement would pay for itself within 4 years. These costlier contributions are known as Class 3 contributions.
Expats and Aussies who have worked for at least three years in Britain only need to voluntarily contribute £153 ($278) this financial year under the Class 2 scheme to enjoy the extra £246 ($448) pension payment each year – for the rest of their lives. This super-discount contribution scheme pays for itself in the first year of pension payments! It then becomes a gift that goes on giving for a lifetime.
Projecting this benefit over a 15 year timeframe would see eligible expats and eligible Aussies who make this voluntary contribution and then collect the British Pension receive more than $6,600 extra in Australian dollars (based on current exchange rates) in their British pension in return for a one-off payment of $278 this financial year.
However, anyone who is eligible will need to make their voluntary Class 2 contributions by 6th April 2019, when the scheme is due to close.
The news gets better!
The British national insurance system allows for payment of up to six years of retrospective contributions, meaning anyone who is eligible can also make voluntary retrospective contributions back to the 2012-13 tax year. These retrospective contributions can be made under the discount Class 2 contribution scheme provided you are eligible. That means eventually even more money in your British pension on retirement.
It’s important to note, though, that if you have already reached British Pension age, you are no longer eligible to make Class 2 pension contributions. If you’re in this situation, you could still make the more expensive Class 3 contributions retrospectively up to a maximum of six prior years to boost your pension entitlement.
That’s the good news.
Now the bad news.
The Class 2 national insurance contribution scheme is scheduled to end on 6th April 2019. So there’s only a brief window of opportunity to take advantage of this scheme. Those of you who are eligible will need to hurry!
Another negative feature is the British Government’s continuing refusal to index the pensions of expatriates and other pension recipients in Australia. British pension recipients in Britain as well as in a number of other countries including the United States and Israel receive indexed British pensions.
If, like us, you consider this refusal to index British pensions for those pensioners living in Australia to be inequitable, we encourage you to contact the British Pensions in Australia – see our BPIA website link or visit www.bpia.org.au
The dedicated people who run this site provide excellent advice about British pensions – see their Frequently Asked Questions section for some clear information about British pensions.
BPIA have been fighting relentlessly to secure indexation of British pensions for recipients of British pensions in Australia. Support their cause.
Guinness – the health drink of a nation
“Guinness is good for you” is a longstanding advertising line.
It turns out that there may be some truth in advertising.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin have recently established that a pint of Guinness a day is actually good for your health.
The Wisconsin scientists served Guinness to dogs with narrowed arteries. Guinness worked as well as aspirin in preventing clots forming, as antioxidants in Guinness apparently are helpful in reducing cholesterol that otherwise accumulates in arteries.
A pint of Guinness taken at meal time has the best impact.
So, get to it. Drink Guinness and stay healthy!
For readers who dislike the taste of raw Guinness, here’s a recipe that’s bound to overcome any taste objections.
After all, what can go wrong when you combine beer, chocolate, Irish whiskey and ice cream?
Guinness Ice Cream Float
3 scoops of vanilla ice cream
1 can of Guinness
One shot of Jameson whiskey
Blend the ice cream, Guinness and Whiskey. Pour chocolate syrup down the sides of two serving glasses, divide the blend into both glasses, then pour a little more chocolate syrup in both glasses and top with whipped cream.
Brexit and what it means for both Britain and Australia
By Basil Merryweather
This article will look at explaining Brexit and what the effects are for both Britain and Australia. We need to first take a step back and look at why Brexit actually happened in the first place. There are many opinions as to why it happened but the general consensus is that the British people voted the way that they did because they wanted change. Brexit was the term used for a British exit from the European Union (EU), which it had been part of since 1973. A more patriotic viewpoint is that the people of Britain were sick of the EU making decisions for them. The British didn’t like the EU spending the money of British tax payers on things that they didn’t agree to, and the National Health System of Britain was being drained by foreigners. It took a long time going through parliament for the Brexit referendum to happen and many Pro-EU politicians arrogantly didn’t expect that the result would go against them. One of the underlying reasons for the average British person to vote for Brexit had to do with immigration, a multitude of EU regulations and regaining sovereignty. The EU had taken control away from the British to select their own fate and the British people wanted it back. It was certainly quite a shock to the Pro-EU establishment when Britain made the historic decision to leave the EU on June 23rd 2016.
A “yes” vote for Brexit caused Prime Minister David Cameron to resign in embarrassment and also caused the British pound to fall to its lowest point since 1985 with the surprising decision having international ramifications. Newly appointed British Prime Minister Theresa May has had to try and forge ahead with making sure Brexit will be implemented. After a few hold ups in the Supreme and High courts, Article 50 was triggered on the 29th of March 2017. This would mean that Britain would now officially go through a gradual process over 2 years of completely separating itself from the EU in 2019.
What does this all mean to Australia you may ask? From an economic standpoint, it could have a significant impact on Australian markets. There is also the effect it could have on tourism to Australia from Britain because of the weaker British pound. Apparently over 700,000 British tourists came to Australia in 2015. In the long-term, a shaky global economy will have a huge effect on Australia’s trade, especially as Britain is still Australia’s 7th largest trading partner. But it isn’t all doom and gloom as it would certainly make is cheaper for Australian tourists to visit Britain with a stronger Australian dollar.
There is the irrational fear that Brexit will cause yet another Global Financial Crisis similar to 2008-2009 and would have a harmful impact on Australia. But there are also many opportunities that could arise with closer trade links being forged between both countries. Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has called for a one-page Free Trade Agreement with Australia. He is of the opinion that there should be no tariffs or quotas between Australia and Britain whatsoever. The possibility of a Commonwealth trading bloc amongst nations has also been raised, this has been pushed by many conservative politicians and a British based lobby group known as the Free Enterprise Group (FEG), which many Brexit “yes” supporters are also part of. A report done by FEG, with a foreword from Tony Abbott, called for free labour mobility between Britain and the most developed Commonwealth nations such as Canada, New Zealand and, of course, Australia. Although, the one disturbing aspect of this report was the suggestion of relaxing Tier 2 visas for skilled workers from India. The future benefits of a probable Commonwealth trading bloc could be immense though, especially as historic ties and a strong diasporic community all contribute in a positive manner to improved trade, investment and labour in what is known as the “Commonwealth effect”. Whether or not this is a viable option and is taken up by Commonwealth countries shall remain to be seen.
Overall, the tourism (for Australians travelling to Britain) and trade benefits will open a lot of doors for Australia. Even with the dark clouds of a global economic downturn conceivably on the horizon. Brexit was about Britain gaining back true independence and it will eventually achieve that fully in 2019. Now that Britain has left the EU it does not have to contribute billions of pounds a year to the EU budget. That money can now be spent improving health, education, infrastructure, defence and other key projects solely for British interests. This also means that Britain now has more control over its own borders with the EU’s demands of “free movement of people” across Europe being abolished. Conversely, Prime Minister Theresa May has rejected the Brexit campaign’s pledge to look at introducing an “Australian-style points system” to manage skill shortages and immigration in Britain. The amazing hard work of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage should also not be forgotten as he pushed to achieve the goal of Britain “deciding its own destiny” for a number of years leading up to the Brexit referendum. Many other Anti-EU populist parties throughout Europe have looked to emulate the success of Brexit, putting into doubt the future of the EU and its relevance.
At least it can now be said that the British people now have a genuine opportunity to decide the fortunes of their nation and as Australians we hope that Brexit will bring about a new era of even closer times between both us and the Motherland.