British expats have the tiny Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) to thank for keeping the state pension triple lock – at least for now.
The DUP has 10 Westminster MPs that tip the number of seats in favour of Theresa May’s Tory government, providing they support her policies.
And that’s by no means certain even though they have wrung more than a billion pounds in extra cash for Northern Ireland from May.
They also demanded that she should keep the triple lock arrangement for state pensions that guarantees a minimum 2.5% a year cost of living increase – and that applies to British expats in the EU as well as on the UK mainland.
The triple lock promise also includes retaining the winter fuel allowance for the few hundred thousand expats who still qualify for the £300 a year payment.
In fact, the DUP has done more to preserve expat pension rights than any other party at Westminster.
For state pensioners, the agreement means a guarantee of more money during the life of Mrs May’s government, which could be quite short due to her slender majority.
She has 317 seats to Labour’s 262. Parties that have hinted they will vote against the Tories include the Scottish Nationalists, with 35 seats, the Liberal Democrats (12) and Plaid Cymru (4).
The Greens have one seat, independents have a single seat and the speaker has a seat, too.
How much state pension expats can expect
Sinn Fein have seven seats, but will not sit or vote in a UK Parliament, so the Opposition has 316 seats to count on at the most, while May has 327 with the DUP.
Unless MPs cross the floor or abstain on the government side, May has just enough MPs to carry a majority vote (326 votes).
Financially, the triple lock increases the state pension each year by 2.5%, any average wage hike for the year or any rise in inflation for the year – whichever is the highest.
For over 65s on the new flat rate state pension of £159.55 is likely to increase to at least £163.54 a week in 2018 (£8,504 a year); then to £167.63 (£8,718) in 2019 and to £171.82 (£8,934) in 2020.
The winter fuel payment is £200 for those born before May 5, 1953 and up to £300 for those aged 80 or over.