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.

Subscribe to the Olive Press


  1. 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.

  2. 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)

  3. 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!

  4. 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 pension is just over fourhundred a month.

  5. 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!!

  6. 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??

  7. 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.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.