Jayne, you may be perfectly right but let's not have assumptions why people joined SFN. Debate is quite alright, aspersions contribute very little. But good point on the pcture. Richard, please!
Much of what Jayne is saying is right. I certainly did move after my 6oth birthday when the WFA had already been paid to me once. I cancelled, and wrongly it would appear, all benefits when I can here. In trtuh I cannot afford to. I have paid into the system most, but not all, of my working life but not here in France. So who pays me pension, etc. WFA is simply as supplement to pesnsion. I find it odd that it begins at 60 rather than 65 but who knows what reasoning drives political decisions like that? Where then should the many people like me turn?
It is not a case, for many of us at least, to 'run away' from the UK. Sure, a house may be sold to buy a cheaper French one, but then the disadvantages such as higher running and repair costs render that a bad option. I too have doubts about those who can afford to have a home here and keep one in the UK. For most of them £200 is small change and I would be the first to say they should donate it to those who need it more. But that does not apply to all.
Some people are disadvantaged by moving here. I need to work until I fall headlong into my final resting place. If I can find the work, which is becoming increasingly difficult for many reasons. Finding a job, well not an option being older than retirement age in my professional area. I am one of many, I am only using myself as an illustration, on the other hand I have a much young partner who can still generate income and is doing her utmost to do so, we have young children too, so to some extent the scrapings of the barrel people like me receive are supplementary to not much in the first place. Other people are far worse off. People who wanted something 'nice' for once in their lives, left the UK to find it and taking the risk that they would need extra support that they are usually bright enough to assume they will not get.
So they get WFA as a supplement to their pension, a state pension that is lamentably lacking in itself when one gets there and has so many strings attached that it would be interesting to know just how many people get the full amount they are entitled to. People who started work at 15 or 16 are only in the second half of their 60s in some cases and above that all the more common. Some of them paid taxes, 'stamps', social security and all the different names and denominations there have been for half a century! Other people paid 40 to 40+ years. If they are not going to get a return from that from there then where does it come from. France does not and why should they? If some kind of reciprocal agreement set in stone is established at some time then naturally it should be expected. That is not the case. But should 'exiled' well off people who are tax dodging, avoiding any kind of contrinbution or could simply afford to retire early get it too? Well, that should be a case by case question. Morally, I would say most should not. But if they have played by the rules and paid into all schemes then it is equally morally reprehensible to deny them.
So, Richard, perhaps putting people in the 'same boat' is not a clever way of arguing because the response will only be anger. I don't think people are exaggerating their status, therefore their anger back to your responses is almost to be expected and I am a little surprised that there are not more.
Anyway, said and done. Please do not forget the picture!