Furious Brits in freezing Alicante demand reinstatement of winter fuel allowance

Published:  20 Jan at 6 PM
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Following the dramatic big freeze and snowfalls across Southern Spain, British expat pensioners are demanding the UK government reconsider the removal of their £300 winter fuel allowance.

Earlier this week, the normally sun-drenched retirement hub of Alicante was a snow-covered, freezing resort reminiscent of the worst of the UK’s cold, winter weather. British pensioners, deprived several years ago of their winter fuel allowances, were forced to buy heaters or expensive logs to burn in order to keep themselves warm and are now demanding the UK parliament revisits its ‘average temperature’ rule for Spain.

London-born British retirees June and Keith Jones, both in their 70’s, moved to Alicante 14 years ago and are living on their UK state pensions. Once the big freeze had crossed northern Europe and headed into Spain, they were hit by sleet, torrential rain, thunder and lightening as the temperature plummeted. Finally, on Wednesday morning, they woke up to an inch of snow.

Keith told British reporters the couple were simply not used to the freezing temperatures, and had been forced to spend 200 euros on logs just to keep warm. In 2014, when unpopular Work and Pensions minister Ian Duncan Smith withdrew the winter fuel allowance for Spain, the couple weren’t best pleased, but never imagined they’d endure anything like last week’s big freeze.

Pensioners living in Spain’s northern regions saw even worse conditions, with snowfalls up to six inches deep and temperatures even colder than on the coast. According to Keith and June, January in Alicante is usually pleasantly warm, but daytime temperatures around 16-17C can drop to low single figures at night, a huge drop from summer highs of around 40C. Surely, they said, the average between the high and low temperatures entitles UK pensioners to the allowance, especially after last week’s big freeze.
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