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Facultad de Derecho
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Recortes de Prensa

British minister visits Spain to help expat pensioners

The Daily Telegraph, 14 | 09 | 2009 - Noticia

A British minister will visit Madrid this week to announce a package of help for the estimated 300,000 British pensioners living in Spain

Many elderly expats have suffered recently because of the falling value of sterling, the property crash and their failure to qualify for state benefits.

Charities, expatriate groups and diplomats in Spain now report that thousands are struggling to cope the rising cost of living, the Times reports.

They say that the ageing expatriate population, hit by the falling Spanish property market that left them with “dream homes” they cannot sell, also face insufficient healthcare resources.

In an attempt to address the problem, Chris Bryant, the Consular Minister, will announce that the number of care workers for British pensioners in Spain will rise to 100 and that a new partnership with Age Concern will help expatriates.

Many of the retired people on the costas still depend on UK benefits but are not entitled to the same level of care as they would be if they lived in Britain.

Some, such as winter fuel allowance, are not paid in Spain and, as expatriate EU citizens, they are entitled only to primary healthcare.

Though the Spanish health system boasts an international reputation, aftercare is largely the responsibility of the extended family.

Private health insurance or residential care can prove too expensive for those struggling on state pensions. Charities say those without family depend on friends or live off charity food hampers. Some are facing the prospects of having to return to Britain.

Age Care reports scores of expatriates calling to ask for money-saving tips while Age Concern said that it had 50 needy cases on its books in Majorca alone.

Despite the charities’ concerns, the UK Department for Work and Pensions said that 90,000 more people claimed British pensions last year in Spain.

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