Thank you for contacting me about British Airways and COVID-19, and I do appreciate that this must be an uncertain and worrying time for British Airways staff and their families.
I would encourage airlines to make full use of the unprecedented support made available by the Government to assist with wages and financing. Support is on offer through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (which has now been extended until the end of October), the Time to Pay scheme, the Bank of England's Covid Corporate Financing Facility and other schemes.
The Government has also taken action to help airlines specifically in dealing with the financial pressures they are currently facing. For example, the UK voted in favour of giving airlines the ability to defer payment of charges for European air navigation services for February-May 2020, for 14 months. Given that in February alone the UK's ten largest airlines would have been expected to pay a total of £47.2 million for flights in European airspace, this deferral should go some way to help airlines manage their current financial burdens.
I know that the Government is also in regular contact with airlines, including British Airways. Rest assured that I am monitoring the situation very closely and listening to the views of those here in our constituency. I will convey the concerns fed back to me to my Ministerial colleagues.
State Pension Overseas
The UK State Pension is payable worldwide and is uprated abroad where there is a legal requirement to do so. In some countries, however, there is no agreement with the UK for securing the social security rights of people moving between the two countries. As a result, pensioners who move to these countries still receive the State Pension but do not have their payments uprated as they would be for UK residents. The Department for Work and Pensions endeavours to make this clear to those thinking of moving abroad and publishes guidance on its website.
It has been and remains the policy of successive governments not to enter into new agreements with countries or territories where this would include up-rating pensions in order to contain the long-term cost of the UK social security system.
I appreciate that this response will be disappointing, but it represents the continuation of well-established policy.