UK Expats Lobby Government For Winter Fuel Allowance

By Dex Tennyson, for 04 February, 2015

British expats living in Central and Southern Europe are lobbying the UK Government to try to retain their Winter Fuel Payments, in light of plans to stop the allowance for pensioners living in warmer climates.

In the June 2013 Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne unveiled plans to cease the payments for expats living in countries where the average winter temperatures are warmer than those in the mildest region of the UK. This "temperature test," which would take effect from autumn/winter 2015/2016 subject to parliamentary approval, would mean that expats living in France, Spain, Portugal, Gibraltar, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus no longer receive the benefit.

When introducing the changes, the Chancellor stated: "From the autumn of 2015, we will link the Winter Fuel Payment to a temperature test. People in hot countries will no longer get it. It is, after all, a payment for winter fuel."

In response, thousands of the affected expats have been sending Members of UK Parliament (MPs) photographs of wintry scenes and deep snow taken in their regions. They are arguing that the new rules are poorly targeted. For example, average temperatures in Northern France are far colder than those in exotic French territories, including those in the Caribbean, which are taken into account when calculating average temperatures.

Expats living in Mediterranean countries, such as Greece and Cyprus, have also raised concerns due to recent unusually cold winters, bringing snow and freezing temperatures.

The Winter Fuel Allowance is worth between GBP200 (USD300) and GBP300 each year. The deadline for MPs to block the plans is February 9, 2015.

Tags: Gibraltar | Malta | Portugal | United Kingdom | Oil And Gas | Cyprus | France | Greece | Spain | Expats | Welfare | Europe |


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