A CAMPAIGNING expat has launched a petition after the UK government axed the Winter Fuel Allowance in Spain.
Maureen Andrews, 62, is furious that she will be losing the allowance with her village of Canillas de Aceituno, in the Axarquia, regularly seeing temperatures drop to zero degrees in winter.
She will no longer get the allowance of €250, which rises to €380 for over 80s, from September.
A new ‘temperature test’ will see subsidies cut in countries where the average annual temperature is higher than the UK’s warmest region – the South West – at 5.6 degrees.
Andrews, from Sutton Coldfield, has now launched the petition after being ‘incensed’ by secretary of state Iain Duncan Smith’s claim that it was ‘absurd and offensive’ for expats to receive an allowance.
“The pensions secretary seems to think we are wealthy pensioners living it up in Marbella,” she said.
“In reality we use the Winter Fuel Allowance to buy wood to heat our houses to keep warm, we do not go throwing it around in bars and fancy restaurants.
“It can get very cold here at night in winter.”
She continued that after her husband Bill paid UK national insurance for 46 years he should be allowed to choose where he lives on retirement.
“This is an entitlement for pensioners and it should remain – regardless of where we choose to live,” Andrews said.
And it would appear that many share her view.
In its first week, the petition addressed to 10 Downing Street has gathered 568 signatures.
It was posted on the Facebook page of the Axarquia Local Info Group.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Andrews added.
New fuel allowance restrictions are expected to cut the UK’s costs from €29.5 million to €9 million.
To sign the petition visit: www.rivoice.net/petitions/expats-to-lose-winter-fuel-allowance-in-spain-and-other-european-countries.html