Brit expats pensioners in Europe lose out on winter fuel allowance

Published:  3 Feb at 6 PM
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The UK government will scrap winter fuel allowances at present received by 92,983 British pensioners living across Europe, thus saving almost £17 million.

The controversial plan is the brainchild of Work and Pensions Secretary Ian Duncan Smith, and is causing anger across Europe’s retirement communities for its unjust application. In his latest announcement, Duncan Smith reiterated that the rule will apply to countries with average annual temperatures higher than 5.6 degrees centigrade.

Duncan Smith is blaming a recent change in EU law which stated that pensioners of any nationality who were able prove sufficient links to the UK could apply for the allowance. He claims that, since the rule change, the annual amount paid out has more than doubled.

The so-called ‘temperature test’ covering Portugal, Spain, Greece and France at the present moment, takes little account of geographic temperature variations. Expats living in mountainous regions with freezing alpine winter weather will lose out as well as those living along the Mediterranean coastline,

Italy with its southern warmth and sunshine is excluded, as its mountainous north has a colder winter than anywhere in the UK, but pensioners living on the lower slopes of the French Alps just across the border will lose their winter fuel allowance in spite of the alpine climate. According to geographically-challenged Duncan Smith, the allowance is intended to help only British residents in the UK with their heating costs.

The allowance will be cut in 2015, in order that David Cameron’s pre-election promise to protect pensioners’ benefits until 2015 is fulfilled. It seems that, again, expats are proving to be easy targets, in spite of the fact that the government saves billions on health costs, extra social benefits and more by not having to serve those who’ve chosen to retire overseas.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Stephen Moon wrote 8 years ago:

This is unacceptable, the people who are being affected are the very people who have paid into the UK coffers all their working life

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