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UK Expats Lobby Government For Winter Fuel Allowance

By Dex Tennyson, for ExpatBriefing.com
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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Entitlement, entitlement, entitlement... Moan, moan, moan... Social security should be in place to help the poorest in society. Pensioners who've been wealthy enough to emigrate to a warm Mediterranean climate, should not be entitled to UK social benefits. What, would you like us to pay for your air-conditioning and pool-side drinks in the summer too? Disabled tenants, single parents, and youngsters have taken all the biggest hits in these times of austerity, while the Conservative-voting oldies have generally had all their benefits left intact. Those wealthy few who've left these shores don't get much sympathy for me, now that they are being asked to pay for their own bills.

Darren_Curhan, 2 years ago.

it is complete nonsense to bring in a Temperture Test in different counties for either being entitled to the WINTER Fuel Payment or not i can assure you that where we live for at least 4 months of a year without fires including Gas Bottle Fires we would be freezing.
For the last 10 weeks the Temperture has been in the daytime of maximum 10/12 degrees with a night Temperture of just2/3 degrees.
Also after Paying my dues to Social Security over all the Years i think it is a complete insult to even suggest of taking away something i am entitled to

Mrs Maureen Bull, 2 years ago.

Born in Feb 1933 (aged 82). I served in the British Armed forces for 25 years. Although now resident in Spain I am subject to UK income tax and complete a return to HM Revenue & Customs each year. My NINO is ZR297288A.
I have only in the past 2 years received any sort of Winter Fuel Allowance. However I understand that is being stopped, despite the fact that even in the East Coast of Spain temps drop to below freezing at night during Jan and Feb.

Thomas Alleyne Brown, 2 years ago.


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