British expats hit back at UK government over winter fuel allowance

Published:  1 Jul at 6 PM
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The news that UK Chancellor George Osborne has cancelled winter fuel payments for pensioners living in Europe is sparking angry protests from expats in the seven EU member states affected.

Osborne’s introduction of a blanket temperature test beginning in 2015 for retirees in Greece, France, Spain, Malta, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus and Gibraltar takes no account of exactly where in the affected countries expats are living. For example, those living in Normandy, the northern Italian states or on the Alpine slopes will lose the payment in spite of experiencing extreme cold and winter snowfalls.

The scheme relies on comparisons with the average winter temperatures in the warmest corner of the UK, the south-west, and has caused anger across many popular expat destinations where winters are far colder than in Devon and Cornwall due to their prevailing weather patterns.
One retiree living in south-eastern France told the Daily Telegraph that temperatures can drop to -10 during the winter months.

Many other expats are pointing out that retirees living in France on the UK’s meagre state pension have a hard time managing even with the winter fuel allowance, and others are noting that retirees living overseas are saving the UK many millions in medical bills. One such, living on the Costa del Sol, said the UK government should calculate the savings on NHS costs, bus passes and free TV licenses before they hit out on overseas pensioners.
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