UK pensioners in cooler parts of Spain cheated out of winter fuel allowance

Published:  24 Aug at 6 PM
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Newly discovered data has revealed British pensioners living in colder parts of Spain may have been entitled to the UK state pensions’ Winter Fuel Allowance.

The winter fuel allowance was cancelled in 2014 for all UK pensioners living in Spain, depriving many thousands of an extra few hundred pounds with which to supplement the ungenerous British pension.

The reason given was that Spain’s average winter temperature was ‘too hot’ to justify the payment.The country’s average winter temperature came out at just above the warmest British region’s average of 5.6C, recorded in South West England. In order to save money by denying the winter fuel allowance to all Brit pensioners living in the country, the government calculated the average temperature across the whole of Spain from its chilly mountains in the north to its hot Mediterranean coastline.

However, recently discovered data suggests the government could easily and more logically have used a regional average rather than the average temperature across the entire country. Had this been done, retired British expats living in Spain’s more northern regions far from the high year-round temperatures of the Spanish Costas could have continued to receive the allowance.

According to a spokesperson from the Department of Work and Pensions, putting in place a system which identified the location of pensioners across Spain would have been expensive and complicated. The spokesperson said he believed the methodology used was fair and robust, adding that pensioners who live in countries where the average winter temperature is below that of the the UK are satisfied with the results.

Meanwhile, expats living in Villafranco del Guadalhorce have been living without a water supply for six months, with the local town hall refusing to take any action. The supply was interrupted last February when a pipe located on private land burst, leaving residents with no access to fresh water.

Despite endless appeals to the town hall, nothing is being done and the responsibility is being put on the local community’s leader. Residents are using untreated canal water and are scared their health may be at risk as a result. The only remedy would seem to be the installation of a 5,000 litre tank, at a cost of around £1,000.
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