Thailand’s expats unaffected by UK general election

The recent UK general election was fought almost exclusively on domestic issues.

Media rumors that the pound would suffer a setback following the UK poll proved to be unfounded. In the past, Labour victories have been accompanied by a fall in the value of the British currency on fears that the party could not be trusted with the nation’s coffers.

However, the July 4 election produced such a huge win for the Labour opposition, amid a collapse without precedent of the Conservative vote, that currency dealers and commentators have taken the view that firm government with a huge majority will benefit the country. The pound is holding steady at around 46.68 to the Thai baht.

The other British expat preoccupation, the frozen state pension, is also a no-change scenario. At any rate for now. No major political party committed itself to reform in its manifesto. Although research from pension pressure groups suggests that Labour MPs are more inclined to favor reform than their Conservative peers, nothing is known of the views of huge swathes of Labour members of parliament in the new intake.

Along with Brits resident in many countries, those in Thailand do not receive the annual rise in state pensions operating for those resident in the UK, the EU and some other states. The unjustness has been frequently debated and referred to the European human rights court. However, a change to benefit 500,000 British pensioners living in affected countries abroad would require Parliamentary assent for a change in the law. Given the state of British finances and urgent domestic matters, such as the crisis in the health service, pensioners abroad are not likely to be a priority.