Ex-RAF officer slams ‘insulting’ letter that lays out British attitude to pensioners in Spain
A BRITISH pensioner has slammed the UK Government for an apparent blunt refusal to help pensioners in Spain.
Brian Morgan, 72, was stunned to be told by the Department for Work and Pensions that it was more concerned with his counterparts in the UK.
In an “insulting” letter, a civil servant wrote that the UK Government would not help the estimated 350,000 UK pensioners in Spain.
He insisted there was no “legal requirement” to do it and added: “The Government’s priority is to help pensioners living in this country (England) and it will continue to help them so they are able to have a decent income in retirement”.
The former RAF intelligence officer – who has seen his pension drop by 200 euros in over a year – is furious that he and tens of thousands of other pensioners are being fobbed off.
“I am so damned angry. This is highly incompetent and very insulting,” Brian told the Olive Press from his home in Torreblanca, near Fuengirola.
Bank bail outs
“He is insulting every British pensioner in Europe. Just at a time when they they are bailing out banks yet again to the tune of £300 billion.
“It is quite clear that they don’t give a damn about pensioners living in Spain.”
His moves to get something done began in August when he started writing a series of letters to Prime Minister Gor
“I told him I was 42 per cent down in income and was having to dig deeply into my savings. I explained that soon I would be left with no savings and could not live on my state pension alone.”
His first reply came on October 3 from a functionary who told him that if he was really feeling the pinch he could get help from Spanish social services. “But everyone knows that is not true,” he explained.
So angry was he with the reply he wrote again on November 19, to which he finally got a reply on December 30.
Written by civil servant Ben Aston at the Department for Work and Pensions, the letter initially showed some sympathy for the exchange rate – which has seen the pound drop from 1.4 to 1.1 euros in a year.
But it went on to say that the Government could not provide any relief, adding that the department would only step in if there was a “legal requirement.”
And this is despite people like Morgan, who moved here for health reasons on the advice of the NHS.
He had moved to Spain ten years ago after doctors explained that his wife Gwynneth, who suffered from acute bronchitis and has since passed away, would survive longer if they lived in a hot climate.
Morgan explained that the drop in the value of his pension coupled with inflation has left him considerably worse off.
After paying his 1200 euro community charge he is only left with enough money for food.
“And even then things are tight. I bought six bananas from Waterloo station last summer for just £1 and when I got back to Spain I discovered they were 2.83 euros for the same amount. Spain is not cheap any more.”
He even claims that Spanish pensioners, not to mention those from Scandinavia and Germany, are better off than the British.
And he insists that even if he wanted to sell up to go back to the UK that would now be impossible with the current property market.
“I would happily downgrade to a smaller apartment and even consider going back to the UK if I could sell up.
“I know a lot of people who are really suffering and having to be bailed out by friends or charities like Age Concern.
“Some people are living on bread and marmalade and hardly go out.
“I paid my contributions for 44 years, four more than the requirement and yet my pension has been cut dramatically. It is so unfair.
“I can hardly afford to go out. When I do I can only afford beer, rather than wine and I have to be very careful about my electricity and heating bill.”
He has since received letters from Conservative leader David Cameron and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg sympathising with his plight, but making no concrete promises.