14 Feb, 2014 @ 12:55
1 min read

Expats to lose winter fuel allowance

THE UK government is scrapping the winter fuel allowance for expats from 2015 in a move to cut costs.

£21million went to providing almost 49,500 expats with the allowance in the winter of 2012-13, up from £12.8million the previous year.

This was due to a European Court ruling that anyone with a ‘sufficient link’ to Britain could claim the £200-£300 allowance.

The new rules, which should save the Government £8.85million, will apply to places where the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest part of the UK which is 5.6C in South-West England.

This means expats in Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Cyprus and Gibraltar will lose the allowance.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith said in November that the decision by the European Court of Justice was ‘ridiculous’ as his department revealed its staggering cost.

‘The huge increase in UK winter fuel payments equates to a near doubling in costs to the British taxpayer and that is wholly unacceptable,’ he said.

Tom Powell

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  1. The nasty party will save £8.85 million but is very happy to commit the UK tax payer to an £80 billion cost for a nuclear weapon controlled by their American masters.

    Does anyone find it ‘strange’ that those Brits living in Italy will still receive the WFA.

    Is’nt Tuscany and Lombardy where a lot of retired Tory fat cats live – Lord McAlpine et al.

  2. Someone please tell me what the Hell is wrong with all of the people that are running that country!!!

    LABOUR, CONSERVATIVES & LIBERALS, ALL say  We’re “broke” and can’t help our own Seniors, Veterans, Orphans, Homeless, etc.,In the past few years we have provided direct cash [£] aid to
    Haiti – £1.4 B,
    Hamas – £351 M,
    Pakistan – £2 B,
    Libya – £1.45 B,
    Egypt – £397 M,
    Mexico – £622 M,
    Russia – £380 M,
    Jordan – £463 M,
    Kenya – £816 M,
    Sudan – £870 M,
    Nigeria – £456 M,
    Uganda – £451 M,
    Congo – £359 M,
    Ethiopia – £981 M,
    South Africa – £566 M,
    Senegal – £698 M,
    Mozambique – £404 M,
    Zambia – £331 M,
    Kazakhstan – £304 M,
    Iraq – £1.08 B,
    Tanzania – £554 M,
    giving them a total of literally Billions of Pounds – and the majority of them still hate us !!!

    Our retired seniors –   living on a ‘fixed income’ – do they get any breaks ???
    While our government and religious organisations pour Hundreds of Billions of Pounds and Tons of Food to a vast list of Foreign Countries!

  3. @ Stuart Crawford….I think it’s only the north of Italy that is still going to receive this fuel entitlement (rather than benefit). Though where the boundary will fall is anyone’s guess. Probably just to the south of second homes owned by British MP’s and their buddies.

    How, in terms of temperature, they can favour northern Italy over northern Spain is beyond me.

    But we all know this is just an attempt by Smith and Clegg to catch votes from those who think we live in a year round tropical paradise. They could save a damn sight more by cutting the foreign aid to India, who have said time and again that they neither need it nor want it.

  4. Brian,
    that’s not the way it works – it’s country specific nothing to do with regions.

    Sheilagh, if so it’s very recent but the fact still remains that only the very wealthy can afford to live in Tuscany and Lombardy or Rome, equally very expensive.

  5. IDS is set to save 9 million from paying the WFA in the hope of gaining a few votes from Daily Mail readers, it’s small change compared to the 98 million he just wrote off at the DWP on a failed IT project which he said was totally acceptable. It’s government waste that is bankrupting the country not old age pensioners.

  6. @…Stuart Crawford….I was referring to a quote, as recently reported in the Daily Mail (so it must be true!!), by Ian Duncan Smith where he opinioned that, because the north of Italy had similar weather to the UK, those British ex-pats living there would continue to be entitled to the winter fuel allowance.

    And so my comments remain, a) where will the deciding line fall, and b) how is the north of Italy different to the north of Spain (or indeed the north of France). Clearly he hasn’t spent a winter in Madrid and it’s northern neighbouring regions, not to mention Granada.

    Maybe Smith (and Clegg) need lessons in mini climatology. As we all know, 20 miles inland from the Mediterranean, the Iberian winters are colder than the UK which is largely bathed in the effects of the gulf stream. But maybe they don’t need lessons and this is just, as I said before, vote catching hype driven by the popular press.

  7. @ Esco … The majority of expat pensioners have spent their entire working lives paying the same taxes as those living in the UK. Why should we be penalised if we choose to spend our twilight years in Benidorm instead of Blackpool? Incidentally, could the UK cope if we all returned to the UK and claimed every benefit available?

    Seems to me that the withdrawal of WFA is a devious but oh so British form of genocide – kill us all off with hypothermia or pneumonia and they won’t have to pay our old-age pensions either!

  8. @Esco
    Normally I don’t get personal but in your case I will make an exception. The vast majority of ex pats living in the EU are pensioners of a generation who worked hard all their lives paid taxes and raised families without child allowance for all children, working tax credits, child care and uncapped housing benefit and other assorted tax payer funded benefits. They made their decision to live in other countries on the circumstances prevailing at the time. They haven’t abandoned their country they are not traitors, we don’t collaborate with an enemy power and many of us still pay income tax in the UK unlike a lot of the patriotic free loaders who still live there supported by working and retired tax payers. I and I suspect many other are sick to death of your brain dead moronic comments, you are patently a waste of skin cells and have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. If you wish to make further comments or reply to me kindly get an education, some relevant information and wash your mouth out with soap and water. By the way personally if the UK needs my winter fuel allowance to pay a unemployed breeding machine £26,000 a year they can have it I come from a generation that can bare some hardship and go without the odd luxury, oh and we are not all millionaires.

  9. @Peter
    Moan moan moan moan moan just like the so called vast majority of ex pats living in the EU. PS.. hope you got your British TV channels sorted out, you should still pay your English TV licence as well I think!!!! pmsl

  10. @ ESCO….Your moronic comments demonstrate to perfection the ignorance that prevails amongst those that have no perception of the issue of WFA. Should you care to put your brain into gear and research the history of WFA you would discover that, in reality, it was invented (by Labour I might add) to placate those who were protesting (with justification) about the paltry increase in state pension. It is therefore AN ENTITLEMENT not, as you so eloquently suggest, “a payment in lieu of leaving the UK”.

    In addition, there are many ex pats who continue to pay UK tax and therefore, by definition, contribute to the funding of those that, by choice, sit on their backsides all day resplendent in the knowledge that the taxpayer is working on their behalf. The cost of THAT pushes into insignificance the cost of ex pat WFA.

    I suggest (along with probably 99% of the readership here) that you direct your venom towards those that create such cuckoo land policies.

  11. @ Esco … There are many places in Europe and other parts of the world that have much colder winters than the UK, but possibly you lack the education to be aware of this fact (as, apparently, do some UK politicians) – and yes, thank you, we have got our British TV channels sorted out. Unfortunately, although many of us would have been willing to pay a TV Licence fee, we have always been denied the opportunity, so our money to the service providers is going outside the UK! Your loss, BBC etc!

    @ Peter … Well said!

  12. @esco
    Can’t even use a proper name to do your trolling, do you use the same handle when you comment on the Daily Mail. I can still watch TV via other means and would happily pay a TV licence if they beamed the signal to Spain, I suspect you are a very small bitter and jealous person.

  13. Anyway WFA is being stopped for you all so stop your whinging and get on with your meat bingos and card nights and buy some more blankets.
    Adios Muchachos y Muchachas!!!!!!!!

  14. @esco
    Still no informed comment, pray enlighten us all as to how we are free loading and off who. BTW do you pay taxes, have you served your country via Armed Forces, Public Service. Are you sufficiently educated to do your own research before you make a decision or do you rely on the Daily Mail as your main point of reference.

  15. Firstly – to avoid confusion – I am not the same Brian who has written earlier.
    I live in France and have been involved for a long time with the issues concerning expatriate pensioners in Europe.
    see “http://pensionersdebout.blogspot.com”
    and also “www.votes-for-expat-brits.com”
    ITALY is totally excluded from the proposed Ban on payment of the WFP. The suggestion that only northern Italy will no longer receive the WFP excluded is totally false.
    It should be obvious that the UK Government, and I fear many British residents in the UK consider the expatriate – especially the pensioners- as second class citizens. No doubt they would deny that! But that is how it feels!
    What is needed is that British Citizens abroad are considered with same respect by them as those resident at ‘home’. We have our special concerns and needs. These need to heard in the British Parliament. Especially is this important for the British Citizen in the EU. It is all to do with ‘freedom of Movement’ a foundation stone of the EU. We need someone to represent us in the UK Parliament.
    For these reasons I beg of everyone to sign up to the petition “http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55085”
    Without this voice you -we cannot be heard!
    Please add your signatures NOW!

  16. @ Brian Cave….I was only quoting from a recent report in the Daily Mail and I stand corrected….. And no, I don’t believe everything the DM prints but on this occasion, it seemed about par for the course for the present UK government, hell bent on bowing to the whims of the ignorant few and being totally clueless about continental micro climates. Their exclusion of Italy (as you say) from the removal of WFA bears witness to that.

  17. Keith, yes I agree they should clip a few billion from that bill and could easily do so by supplying contraception methods to all the places listed. What is the point of most of these Countries having more babies when they cannot even support themselves. They should keep the TV in Spain and give you higher pensions and WFA, but instead, pensions are becoming something that people like me will be lucky to have for only a few years before we are buried and benefits are increased in overall spending because we are a soft touch and priority is being given to help people in the UK lounge around and increase babies with tax credits etc etc. Esco, you sound like you live in a block of council flats and are jealous that others have worked and have enough cash to leave the UK. Get a good job and you may be able to afford it but your brain is probably wired wrongly. I cannot waste any more of my time replying to your childish statements.

  18. @Reap.. is this as in reap all the UK bebefits?? Nope I do not live in a block of council flats but a nice bungalow in spain and have done for the last 9 years after retiring here from the uk at the age of 35 years, I have a great lifestyle and as so young do not get WFA so will never miss it, as for the brain wired wrongly aaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh NOPE as not many people can say that they have retired at 35 years old…so who’s brain is wired up wrong??????
    Bye for now and please do not waste any more of your sad time replying to me!!

  19. Don’t worry at all Esco, they’re a really twisted bunch of bitter people on this website. It’s not normal, and word is spreading. Most people I talk to think the same before even mentioning this disgusting comments section.There’s always about 5 of the same people always berating Spain or anyone that lives and likes living in Spain.

    and still noone at The Olive Press has obviously had meeting about it all.

    I just HATE people like you having to read things like the above/most threads.

    Retired at 35.. IN SPAIN! You lucky man!

  20. Good on you Derek etc a man with some common sense!! ,), and yes there are some Bitter twisted people out there!!and they move here to spain and just moan moan moan about the UK system and also the Spanish system, no pleasing some people!!!

  21. You two (Esco & Derek etc) must get invited to all those dinner parties where the host fancies an early night.

    Should you assemble your collective brain cells together you might (with a struggle) conclude that there is a world of difference between “moaning” and seeking an improvement in any given situation.

    In this world there are leaders and followers. The leaders get things DONE by challenging the status quo, (that’s not Parfitts outfit) and demanding improvements for the common good. The followers simply waste their time basking in the afterglow of others’ achievements. And since you claim to have “retired” at 35, your position in life is crystal clear….Freeloading.

  22. Esco was caca and Derek etc was Mr Roger Stevens, I have not go the space here to type out his old alias names. I do like a good debate but esco is so retarded that it is not worth the effort. Bungalow Bill more like!!

  23. With the upcoming Universal Credit being imposed by the Nasty Party (expected arrival… dreckly), all allowances will be withdrawn, be it bus passes, TV Licences for the over 75’s, deaf/blind, WFA and a host of others. They will be bundled together and means tested by the DWP.

    Just for the record, anyone who can ‘retire’ aged 35, either sold a DotCom in 2001, won the lottery or was/is a drug dealer.

    On the assumption that you will have 40 years of ‘retirement’ and want to live very comfortably rather than quite nicely, you will need a minimum of €40,000 pa to run a floozie, two cars, all the tekkie toys of Sat TVs, ‘puters etc, heated pool & jacuzzi, plus trips on the boat to Morocco every so often. I’d estimate that unless you have £2m cash stashed away, you will have to ‘earn’ an income at some stage. No doubt you pay all your taxes and dues to the UK & Spanish authorities, your family, especially your Mother must be very proud of her little boy.

    Please let me know which bar in which town/village you drink in, I’d love to buy you a cerveza or two.

  24. Regardless of all the arguments above how can they go against an EU court ruling? when every other EU ruling is automatically passed into UK law.
    This new action directly against Uk pensioners needs to be challenged once again to a EU court of justice and human rights.

  25. Nick Clegg wouldn’t have to look far to get his facts right, I thought his wife was ‘Spanish’, so she would know how cold it gets here in Northern Spain. Certainly, less than 5.6C in the Winter!. We had 3 snow falls last year, one 2ft deep. I can assure all the British Politians, we certainly need our WFA.An increase in our Gas of 125% since 2005, plus all the other heating products have increased to quickly swallow up an feeble Pension Increases.
    Like many expats, I have worked in the U.K. all my life, ran businesses, sometimes doing 2 jobs and raised 3 children.Paid all my Taxes and Ins. and never claimed any benefits.
    It beggars belief that the ‘brains’ of the Government cannot research geographical facts to establish who should
    be entitled to WFA, Northern Italy, but not Northern Spain!! Still no big surprise there, they don’t even know how many ‘Illegal Immigrants’ are living there, but still manage to fleece the ‘Taxpayer’ of ‘Millions’ to support these non contributing parasites.
    I have also lived in ‘Catalunya’, it can get very cold there too, so where do these decisions come from?
    The best and fairest solution would be to increase ,the O.A.P to represent the cost of living,and cancel the WFA, thus, keeping everybody happy.

    Cheers All You O.A.P’s out there!

  26. Shirley N/S,
    ‘they’ no very well that many parts of Spain and France (where I now live) have very cold weather, 2 winters ago we had -17C in the Aveyron, we had no water for 10 days. ‘They’ doctored a study which they commissioned to include France’s Indian Ocean islands.

    The Labour (LOL) party do not represent the majority of the UK population they just want to fatten their own bank accounts but the Nasty Party are totally controlled by big business which treats the ordinary citizen with complete contempt.

    You are quite right about the State OAP, on another thread I mentioned that the State pension in France is €14000 per year and in the Netherlands and Germany, honest hard working people retire on 90% of their final salary.

    “it takes a revolution to make a solution” – Bob Marley – just make sure the red shirted Fascists don’t seize power, that’s the danger.

  27. Elaine,
    very good question. In the age of computers it is electronically easy to track where people are. A load of rubbish is spouted about how it is not cost effective to check income against allowances.
    Every different State department is run as a little fiefdom and the scum who run them will do anything to hold onto total control.

    The Brit politicians have wasted over 15 billion on a computer system that never worked when they could have approached the French who have a fully functioning computer system and everyone has a Carte Vitale – it’s what I use as ID where ever I go in France.

  28. Don’t worry with all your TROLLING insults Reap, it’s just about to start warming up here till November. I can send you some jumpers, wellington boots and an umbrella though? maybe a canoe too?

  29. To be fair once you leave the UK you are no longer contributing to the UK economy. No more VAT paid, no contributions to the profits of local businesses (who would have paid taxes on those profits) and so on. Someone may well have ‘worked all their life’ but they enjoyed the benefit of the public services at that time. Now they choose to take their pension money out of the UK and strengthen another country’s economy rather than the UK which is fine – but why should they expect to continue to benefit from initiatives intended to protect UK pensioners from the weather?

  30. @Voice of reason….Wrong…Many retired people continue to pay tax in the UK and therefore continue to contribute to the economy….In addition, when the winter fuel allowance was introduced it was as a result of nationwide protests about the miserly increases in state pension at that time and so, by implication is, and still should be for ALL UK pensioners an entitlement irrespective of place of residence.

    And as for those nincompoops in government who claim that winter temperatures here in Spain are significantly higher than in the UK should wake up to reality.

  31. @Voice of reason but no logic, I continue to pay income tax in the UK as I have done for about 47 years, why should I be deprived of a benefit so that immigrants who have paid no tax can enjoy the welfare state at my expense. I personally am sick to the back teeth of people like you who regard ex pats as some sort of traitor. When the government introduces a contribution based benefits system again I will quite happily give up the winter fuel allowance as I should be getting a much bigger state pension based on my and my wife’s contributions.

  32. The temperature in Spain is not a lot higher than the UK in winter. Admittedly, we do not reach freezing point, but it is not unusual for the temperature to drop to about 4 degrees C through the night. If this is regarded as too high for the allowance (which I have already earned during my 40 years of paying taxes and national insurance stamps), then how about giving pensioners an air conditioning allowance during the summer when the temperature is between 30 and 42 degrees? Air conditioning is expensive out here but an absolute necessity!
    If you are going to take it away with one hand you should be prepared to give it with the other, although in the UK it’s usually the other way round!

  33. We ex-pats have paid tax and N.I.all our lives, also living out of the UK We save the Government millions by not claiming for other benefits that we would get if we were living in the UK.
    It really amazes me how narrow minded a lot of peple are.
    If we all moved back to the UK then what would happen to the budget…..

  34. This is our first winter in France and we have been told it can get to -15/20c so a lot colder than the UK I do think that the government should not look at the whole of France to work out temperatures, as clearly here in Central France will be a lot colder than the South.
    I’m hoping that what we’ve been told doesn’t come to fruition we will be ok this winter as we will get the allowance but next year will be a different kettle of fish. Oh well better get used to it !!!!!!

  35. @Marie Get your jumpers ready, we spent two winters in the Auvergne and yes it can get very cold, it is not uncommon in January and February to have temperatures of minus 10 at midday. Sorry to be the bearer of such news and the UK government is using the whole of France to calculate temperature including the French Island of Reunion in the Indian ocean.

  36. 1. Here in Central France it’s an average winter temperature of 4.5c – below the figure used by the Government in the UK to calculate which pensioners will get the winter fuel allowance ! So we need central heating & log fires.
    2. As a retired UK government employee, my husband still continues to pay UK tax on his pension as this is a UK law for all retired government employees living abroad.
    3.We both worked in the UK for over 30 years and paid income tax & national insurance during that time.
    Our UK State Pension & Winter Fuel Allowance were earned through hard work.You can’t blame us if the Government did not ring-fence the money we paid in.

  37. But many of you have been boasting about the wonderful weather and how cheap everything is. People get confused, they didn’t know the houses were of inferior build and you were all shivering, they thought you were in paradise HaHa

  38. Ref comments above/below down here near Murcia (sunny Murcia) Spain, last year on FB I posted pictures of my car parked in the drive with ice on all windows, this lasted for nearly a month and the weather did stay cold rather than cool. My wife is disabled but cannot claim disability benefits nor can I claim carer allowance thanks to some nice person in the DWP who “accidentally” lost our records,
    We live here on our two pensions and if the UK was as sunny then yes I believe we would move back. The WFA here is really a necessity, our first winter cost us over a thousand euros, last winter was better burning logs and electric fires warming at least one room cost approx 400 euros, this winter so far has cost us the WFA and we are still spending. Yes the summer is hot and it helps my wife who needs the heat, but the cold just drops in and we suffer.Come on Government, take a pay cut and use the cash to help pensioners.

  39. With regard to the UK governments intention to abolish the winter fuel allowance for all expats in Spain and other Europian countries, I live in Lanzarote and come across many over 60s who come to Lanzarote in winter for three or four months to get away from harsh winter conditions partially paid for by the winter fuel allowance, what are we expats doing that is different ? that allows the government to take away our right to this payment either stop paying it to everyone or leave it alone, Lanzarote can get very cold at night and 12c feels like freezing point when you become acclimatised to the hot summers, take it from me you feel the cold!! having worked hard all my life and a paid lot of tax as most expats have we deserve it.
    its OK for the mega rich to receive the payment where’s the logic.

    • /what the government forgets is the fact that we would be getting this allowance if we were still living in the UK. It is still our entitlement and most of us have paid in all our working lives.Just a means of getting money anyway they can. Still I suppose they need the money for all those people from other countries who can now enter Britain!!! Wonder if we will all get a letter informing us of this decision or just be treated with contempt (which is what it feels like)

  40. As an expat living in Gran Alacant on one pension between two of us, I find it very difficult in the winter, to keep warm. I would also question the legality of stopping the WFA, as those of us who have contributed to the system for over 40 years, are entitled to it. I don’t recall ever being told that there was enough money in the system so that I didn’t need to pay anything. The income tax (legalised theft), and insurance stamps were not optional, they were deducted, like it or not. Now it is payback time and the government are going back on the deal.
    I for one, want what I have paid in for!

    Perhaps these thieving *******s should be taken to court!

  41. If I lose my allowance, will this mean I won’t have to pay UK tax on my pensions? For which I get absolutely nothing in return and no vote either in the UK

  42. Fred Mcnuff,
    there’s one European country which is’nt on the list and that’s Italy, guess where lots of rich Brits have homes – Tuscany and Lombardy – we are not all in it together.

  43. My husband and I just live on two pensions we can not aford to put any heating on its to expensive.also my husband has Dementia with no help from anyone.we sit in doors with about three jumpers on to keep warm.my pension is just over fourhundred a month.

  44. We aré expats, and we know someone that use to get 400, as They still have home in Yorkshire, but now Live in Spain. What is wrong is They will still get their 200 for a home in Uk? Why, should they have had 2 lots for several years, as They have Been in Spain for 5years! They will only get one now, is this correct. Makes me so Angry when i paíd my taxes etc in Uk all my life and now you take it away. Not our fault that goverment in a mess!!

  45. I would rather give it to charity instead of leaving it in a pot for MP’s to dip into as we all know they do!!!! Scrooge is alive & living in Westminster.

  46. Yes we live in Spain because the weather is drier not warmer in winter only in summer. If we lived in uk we would be putting a drain on housing benefits as we couldn’t afford to live there, a drain on health care as I got bronchitis twice a year when living there, no bus passes are claimed and I don’t know what other benefits we would be entitled to, so we are saving the government money by living here. I suppose it would be easier if when you reach a certain age you just get put in a gas oven !!!!!! That would save the government a load of money they could use for their pay rises??

  47. Cameron is now considering removing all benefit entitlements for British expats for 4 years, in order to get through his demands for an EU deal (stopping other EU migrants from claiming benefits for 4 years). Happy days for expats considering a move back to the UK. Not.

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