While British pensioners have to return to Britain if they want subsidised care and treatment their Norwegian counterparts will soon be able to move into a care centre built in Spain by the Norwegian authorities. And it makes very sound economic sense and in fact the Norwegian authorities are making quite a saving. Financial estimates made by Age Concern say that caring for a British OAP resident in Spain would cost a lot less than having to repatriate the person to Britain. The Norwegian authorities are spending 600 million pesetas on building a 40 unit care centre in Altea in the Costa Blanca. It is a pilot scheme which if successful could be extended across Spain. “In Altea there is a large Norwegian community and the necessary infrastructure to make the centre's residents feel at home,” said Per Svensson, of the Foreign Property Owners Association. He has been involved in the project and hopes that other governments will follow Norway's lead. The final green light for the project was given two weeks ago and the centre should openly shortly. Judy Arnold-Boakes of Age Concern, has been fighting for many years to improve the fate of British pensioners living in Spain. She also welcomed the Norwegian project yesterday. There are thousands of British pensioners living in Spain and they are only entitled to the state pension which at the moment stands at about 80 pounds a week. Their counterparts in Britain, however, can in some cases claim up to 150 pounds a week or even more. Some say that the British government has turned a blind eye to the fate of overseas pensioners. All British OAPs would have to return to Britain if they wanted the necessary aid. Charities on the island have accused the British government of discrimination and violating the European Union's calls for free movement across the EU member countries.

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