British expat pensioners in Cyprus fighting to keep winter fuel allowance

Published:  14 Jan at 4 PM
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British expat pensioners in the Mediterranean nation of Cyprus are fighting tooth and nail to keep their winter fuel benefits after a proposal to take the allowance away from them due to the climate they live in was tabled.

The UK government is considering taking winter fuel allowances away from pensioners from 2015-16 if the country they live in has an average annual temperature than the proposed set level. This ruling would not only would affect expats in Cyprus, but also other European nations such as Spain, Portugal, France, Malta and Greece.

The proposal is aimed at withholding payments to UK citizens living in countries where the average yearly temperature exceeds the 5.6C in the southwest of the UK – the warmest region of the country. This means roughly 8,000 Brits in Cyprus face losing their benefit in a move that is forecast to save the UK government £1.4 million.

Many Cyprus-based expats have now signed a petition and emailed it to the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), urging the government to reconsider, particularly for Brits living in EU countries.

Paphos local Yvonne Scarborough insisted that affected expats across Europe must stick together. She claimed that Work and Pensions secretary Ian Duncan Smith should visit their house in the winter and feel how cold it can get, pointing out that it could be “freezing” during these months.

She went on to describe the situation as “discriminating against British expats in Cyprus”, adding that everyone concerned about the issue needed to sign the petition email now.
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