UPDATE: Possible loophole found in scrapping of Winter Fuel Allowance

Expats have until January 24 to overturn Winter Fuel Allowance ruling

LAST UPDATED: 12 Jan, 2015 @ 14:21
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UPDATE: Possible loophole found in scrapping of Winter Fuel Allowance

A POSSIBLE loophole has been found in the legislation to withdraw the Winter Fuel Allowance from Britons living abroad. 

It had been ruled that expats living in countries where the average annual temperature is higher than the UK’s warmest region – the South West, at 5.6 degrees – will lose their allowance as of September 2015.

However a way around this law may now have been unearthed.

Expats are now being urged to force a rarely used parliamentary technique – known as a prayer – into action to halt the implementation of the statutory change.

In order to activate the prayer, the Work and Pensions Committee must receive a large number of complaints within 40 days of the statutory change being implemented – I.E. before January 24.


 

To help activate the prayer, the following email must be sent to [email protected]

Dear Madam.

Please convey the following message immediately to the Committee.

To members of the Select Committee for Work & Pensions, it is urged that a ‘prayer’ an EDM as follows is laid before parliament before the 24th January (40 days after the SI was laid).

Early Day Motion (prayer)

Winter Fuel Payment to British Citizens in EU countries.
The Statutory Instrument 2014 No. 3270 (laid before PARLIAMENT on the 15th December 2014 restricting payment to pensioners residing in countries incorrectly called by the DWP ‘hot’ of the EU should be annulled. After the General Election, the matter may then be appropriately reconsidered by the new Parliament.
1. It discriminates against certain groups of British Citizen pensioners residing in certain States of the EU, some of whom are already in financial difficulties.
2. This SI almost certainly contravenes the UK treaty agreement with the EU on social security co-ordination.


Last week the Olive Press reported that expat Maureen Andrews had set up a petition against the statutory change: Expat launches petition against Winter Fuel Allowance cuts.

To sign the petition visit: www.rivoice.net/petitions/expats-to-lose-winter-fuel-allowance-in-spain-and-other-european-countries.html

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74 COMMENTS

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  1. John Simpson I think you will find that many ex pats are not as wealthy as you would imagine. For my part, I did not come over here until I was 70. Whilst in England I paid all taxes etc that the government decreed that I should. I also saved the government much money by caring first for my mother in law and then mu husband’s elderly aunt. One living till 96 and the other one till over 100. I and many other females saved the government millions by not having any children. No, maternity grants, no child allowance for 18 years, no children’s health care and most expensive, no children’s education. Believing the government of the day when I married at 21. I continued working but only paid a married womans stamp. I was told my husbands stamps would cover me for my pension. Well firstly I did not receive my pensions until I was 65 as there is very little difference in our ages. So I now get 70 pounds per week. Fortunately my husband gets considerably more. We finally came to Spain for both our health and find we are better healthwise and actually money wise as it is far cheaper to live out here. Now I am not going to be cold this winter although I will have to be careful. I certainly believe that I and many more ex pats have at sometime saved the British Government millions and if they paid us the WFA until the day we die they will still be left owing us millions more.

  2. I live in Cyprus and it does get cold here, not as cold as in the UK of course but the houses are extremely difficult to heat as they have no insulation or cavity walls, so you will probably be warmer indoors in the UK than in Cyprus with a similar amount of heating.

    In the summer is can be very difficult to live without air conditioning at times, this can be very expensive. July and August are dreadful inside the house in the evenings, so much of the time I have to sit outside and miss the use of the TV and my lounge. No one seems to mention air conditioning in hot countries, something that is never needed in the UK.

    Fans only help a little when it is very hot and humid, the temperature in my bedroom with the windows open in July and August is around 95* F at about 10:00pm.

  3. I think there will be few people living in cold conditions in the UK who will have much sympathy with the 2015 withdrawal of Winder Fuel Payments.

    The points you make about the Winter Fuel Payment could equally be made of people who retire to countries where their UK state pension is frozen in value. This includes Australia, India, Canada and New Zealand. Why, after also paying into the UK system for years, should they be discriminated against? At least in Cyprus, you do (as part of the EU) get the annual pension uprate.

    The Winter fuel Payment was never originally designed to top up the incomes of those outside the UK. It was an EU ruling that made it so.

    The fact is that the average temperature in places like Cyprus is above what people paying taxes in the UK would think is a good use of UK public funds.

    For those who feel strongly about it, the obvious answer to their problem, with withdrawal of the Payment, is to return to the UK. Just as you can argue that those objecting to their UK state pensions being frozen in the dozens of countries where the UK government has no agreement can do the same.

    Because the frozen state pension case applies to countries that are colder than the UK, those living in those countries have a better case for it being uprated than those wanting the Winter Fuel Payment restored to them even though the annual average temperature is higher than in the UK.

  4. This is extremely unfair to pensioners living in European countries considered to be warmer than England. Firstly, France, Spain and Greece can be extremely cold in winter and require heating. Northern France is usually colder than southern England. We live in northern Tenerife which is usually cold enough to require heating in winter especially in January, February, March and sometimes November and April. In 2014 it was extremely cold from November to the first week in May. Our fuel bills were quite high. We have paid NI and taxes for most of our working lives in the UK so deserve a few benefits especially as our pensions are not nearly as good as our EU partners. The UK is saving a lot of money in social services and the NHS when pensioners decide to live abroad.

    However, the temperature in summer in these countries is quite high and therefore the UK Government should consider paying a summer fuel allowance for air conditioning instead of a winter fuel allowance to those pensioners who live in hot climates. Air conditioning is very expensive.

    Surely this legislation is in contravention of the EU ruling on winter fuel.

  5. I live in Gibraltar and my flat needs heating in the winter . I am classed as a UK pensioner here so don’t receive any of the benefits that Gibraltar pensioners enjoy . This means that I survive of the basic state pension . If I lived in the UK I would cost the government money . I worked in the UK for over 30 years and paid my taxes , its not the taxes of current employees that support my fuel payment ,its taxes I’ve already paid !!!

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