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.