12 Jan, 2015 @ 13:58
1 min read

UPDATE: Possible loophole found in scrapping of Winter Fuel Allowance

CAMPAIGNING: Maureen and Bill Andrews

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 workpencom@parliament.uk

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

Rob Horgan

DO YOU HAVE NEWS FOR US at Spain’s most popular English newspaper - the Olive Press? Contact us now via email: newsdesk@theolivepress.es or call 951 273 575. To contact the newsdesk out of regular office hours please call +34 665 798 618.


  1. As a British taxpayer, but regular visitor to the Costa del Sol, I believe the removal of the allowance is more than just. We have to find a way to pay for the healthcare of the elderly residents we have in the UK. I could just see an argument to pay for British taxpayers but not those who don’t contribute to our tax coffers.
    Can you see the Spanish Government supporting it’s non-residents in this way
    Come on get real!
    There are millions of UK pensioners who financially don’t need this bonus either, or child allowance but that’s another story

    • I am sure the times you visit Spain is during the summer months. My husband and I both paid into the Uk for the maximum amount of years, paid our taxes, never claimed benefits, why shouldn’t we receive a winter fuel allowance. Because of the changes in UK pensions I now have to wait until I am 64 to receive my pension – that amounts to in the region of £35,000. Think we are more than entitled to £200 a year Spain gets very cold in the winter.

    • John, I suppose they could raise the money in the UK is, by everyone, even pensioner to pay 10% like they do in Spain on prescriptions. That may help to solve the shortage of finance they are seeking.

    • Your comments have all been welcome since January this year, John Simpson, never missing a chance to show disdain for anyone daring to shed the shackles of what’s left of the British Commonwealth, even though I was there to salute the fading flag on the last Empire Day.
      I sincerely hope you’re not there to see Sharia Law replace it.

  2. You should try living on what they give us as a pension. The winter fuel allowance is part and parcel of the pittance we get. To take it away is unjust. Far better to pay us a decent pension in the first place!

  3. To John Simpson who doesn’t think we should get winter fuel allowance if we are not paying tax in the Uk: I worked and paid social security and tax in the Uk for years, as did my husband. Therefore we should be entitled to it. As regards to paying tax in the Uk now, my pension isn’t even enough to pay tax on, even if I lived in the Uk. There may be millions of pensioners who don’t need it, but we’re not among them unfortunately. If we all come back to live in the Uk you would find that you have more elderly to provide healthcare for. If the British Government were to stop giving away so much money abroad they would have enough to fund everything, including the ailing N.H.S. where I worked for years incidently!

  4. John Simpson…….people of your ilk amaze me !…….pensioners have paid into the system all their lives they are entitled to WFA……I would go further and say they should get a cooling allowance if required…….or does it not get hot or cold here?

  5. I believe the WFA was introduced to help pensioners heat their homes in Winter and I suspect the then Gov’t created it for those living in the UK, I doubt if anyone even thought whether it should go to those abroad so, excuse the pun, but don’t get too heated up on the subject. Many pensioners in the UK don’t even need it but draw it and John Simpson is correct in mentioning child allowance, and let’s add bus passes too, many don’t need these. I assume bus passes are not issued in Spain.

    Whilst on the subject of WFA, in 2010 the Telegraph published an article saying £25 million pounds of WFA was paid to dead pensioners, now that is very cold, but surely they don’t need it, or did the relatives keep drawing it.

    If hard up pensioners in Spain really need it then they should lobby the UK Government, sign a petition, but what are the implications for those in Spain who have now claimed Spanish citizenship, does citizenship of another country mean everything previously goes with it? Only British pensioners in the EU get the pensions increase each year, the others cannot claim it, others further overseas don’t get it. Where does it all end? Only saying!

  6. Laws and allowances are changed all the time to suit the Government’s needs to try and balance the books. Of course each successive Government, of whatever persuasion, can see things in a different way. We all have our gripes. You may think it unfair, I don’t, but that’s life. I am a State pensioner myself and, naturally, do not think it is enough but where do you imagine the money is going to come from. Demographics dictate the problem is only going to get worse. Is it fair that the younger tax payers have to fund free bus passes, prescriptions and WFA? They, mostly won’t think so.
    I am not trying to generalise, inflame or point specific fingers but have you all privately saved during your working years to help you when you are in retirement or are you expecting too much help from the taxpayers who are maybe struggling in their own ways to keep up with inflation, family expenses and unemployment. Are you just being a little me, me. You were all quite happy to dump the UK when it suited
    I don’t even believe it should be a geographical thing. You live in the UK you get it, if you don’t you don’t – simples.
    How many of you sold their UK properties at a good price because of our country’s wealth and bought cheap Spanish property as a lot did from the late 80’s. Did you spend it or put it aside to pay your way later in life
    For the record my wife has had her pension date pushed back from this year to 2020 at very little notice, and her free bus pass, but we have to accept that there is no money tree. I’m guessing but there is every chance the bus pass will be abolished and I’m all for having the cash to pay for the Health Service for all ages.
    You made choices to pick up sticks and live abroad, be thankful you get a pension as has been highlighted above. The welfare system is not a bank. Just because you paid in, in some cases very little, doesn’t entitle you to draw out to the detriment of everyone else.
    I honestly can’t believe that you took the WFA into account when working out whether you could afford to live abroad. In any case the allowance has only been there since 1997
    Child Tax allowance, married person’s allowance and Mortgage Interest allowance etc. have all come and gone
    There some very good contributions on the subject


    With so many friends passed on I’m just happy to wake up each morning.

  7. My parents both get the WFA even though they don’t really need the extra money. We were talking about this the other day and they said that if the WFA became means tested and they lost it, they would completely understand. That said, they think that pensioners in Spain who do need it and have paid into the UK tax system should get it because it is an integral part of the state pension and I agree.

    If it’s any consolation, people in my age group are going to have to wait a very long time before they get their state pensions and I have no doubt the retirement age will be raised yet again.

  8. I wonder if John Simpson is/was a politician, or even an MP, since he seems to be making excuses for the heinous and discriminatory decision that has been made by them.

    In response to some of the points he makes, my husband and I did indeed save during our working lives, and my husband always worked all the overtime he could thereby “saving” even more. These savings were taken at source from our wages by the UK government under the guise “National Insurance contributions”. We understood that, amongst other things, this money was to benefit our old age. We were not told that it was to be freely handed out to the feckless, the workshy, one-armed radical clerics and their families, plus, it can hardly be denied, the world and his wife – not to mention their children, whether or not they actually lived in the UK! There are no free handouts for us here in Spain. Quite right too, since we have not paid into the system – but we HAVE contributed to the UK’s coffers, so is it fair that we should be denied what we have paid for? As for his comment about private savings, well, after paying Income Tax, National Insurance, the mortgage, council tax, house insurance, utility bills, family expenses, etc. etc., we had very little left to build up a nice solid nest egg. We ourselves struggled to cope. In fact we scrimped to save. Most of our “holidays” were spent at home catching up on jobs that we hadn’t had time to complete during the working week. Meals/drinks out were a very occasional luxury. Our paper-thin nest egg was regularly cracked open to pay for household maintenance or repairs, replacing worn-out household items/white goods – the list goes on ….. Unlike John Simpson, we could not, either then or now, afford to regularly visit the Costa del Sol.

    Not all of us were happy to “dump the UK when it suited”. I had the home of my dreams, which I’d lived in happily for 20 yrs, until becoming the victim of a neighbour from hell. Without going into details, I found it impossible to remain in the home I had loved. I no longer had any confidence in the Police or legal system, so, for the sake of my health, I had to get as far away as possible. My husband and I sold our home at a reasonable but not “good” price and, with the proceeds, bought a Spanish property which was NOT cheap! Even so, we managed to retain a little of the proceeds of sale “for a rainy day” – but this is fast disappearing with the dramatic rise in the cost of living over recent years.

    For the record, neither of us have ever had a free bus pass. Mrs. Simpson is indeed fortunate to have enjoyed this benefit, even if it is eventually abolished – but then a bus pass is not exactly a health risk for the elderly, unlike the abolition of the WFA! Incidentally, pensioners in Spain – including British expats – have to pay for prescriptions.

    Unlike John Simpson, I am not happy to wake up each morning. I worry about the future. I worry even more about the forthcoming winters. And I am angry, VERY angry, at the way in which Britain is treating its own elderly people. Whilst appreciating that there are many who do not need the WFA, there are also many who DO need it. The payment was initially made in lieu of a rise in our pensions, and it forms part of our entitlement (at least for those of us who have contributed), so we are NOT drawing out to the detriment of everyone else! One thing is certain, if we all returned to the UK – many of us with little or no assets remaining – we’d cost Britain considerably more than the WFA! I am not interested in reading John Simpson’s suggested contributions as I and my husband have both made more than enough contributions in monetary form throughout 46 years of hard work, but I may be interested in the highest offer for a recently renewed (at exorbitant cost) British Passport. I’m ashamed and disgusted by the land of my birth. Any money realised would be put towards winter fuel costs. If I had to return to the UK it’s pretty certain I’d be better off without it anyway!

  9. Pat,
    an excellent detailed post that resonates with many. John Simpson – what a nasty scrote you are – be thankful you get a pension! I could comment with a lot more colourful language but then the post would be deleted for sure.

    You know you would be much happier living in the ‘land of the free’ as you most definately are a ‘good Republican’ with all the objectionable traits of that breed.

  10. I do not think that John is nasty it his point of view which in some ways a lot of people go along with including some that actually get WFA. I know quite a few reasonably well off pensioners that get this allowance and you hear how handy it is to buy the Christmas present, extra beer money, go towards the holidays. Also we are told that in Spain that food, fuel, council taxes are lower than in the UK. For instance my electric/gas bill per year borders of £4000 and a £1500 council tax bill you can understand why people think it is cheaper in Spain. If the correct people got the correct and needed benefits there would be no complaints.

  11. Most of John Simpson”s assumptions are just plain wrong. The majority of expats I know are saving the government a fortune already. We do not qualify for most of the benefits that UK retirees automatically apply for over the years. To list the few I can call to mind immediately. Pension credit, carers allowance, disability allowance mobility component, insulation grants help installing a new boiler if needed, free hospital transport. Free prescriptions. Free sight tests free hearing checks, and of course state funded care either in the community or in a residential home. The latter of course only being available free to those that have never saved or bought their home.
    Expats are not the problem we are the ones that take responsibility for our own well being and you are wrong John Simpson the WFA is part of the equation when deciding to move as unlike those that have stayed in the UK and claimed endless top up benefits and use the WFA to pay for a bit of winter sun, we hope it will pay towards part of our heating bill.

  12. “I know quite a few reasonably well off pensioners that get this allowance and you hear how handy it is to buy the Christmas present, extra beer money, go towards the holidays.”

    John@ So what? I don’t care how they spend it. How do people spend any form of benefits or entitlements? How do you know and what business is it of ours? We are talking about entitlement here, from people who have paid tax all their working lives. Be the person a wealthy pensioner or a poor pensioner, they both have valid entitlement. I am not against a means tested approach to the fuel allowance in the future, but creating those rules may be unworkable.

  13. ‘Heinous’, hardly
    ‘Nasty little scrote’ from Stuart Crawford. Is that worthy of you? Hmm on reflection it probably is. You seem to know everything about everything and your talents are obviously wasted. You don’t seem to have views and opinions just pontifications. I assume that by ‘the land of the free’ you mean the USA, which in this particular thread is a complete oxymoron since their health service, at the moment, is most definitely not free. You certainly don’t know me. I like to consider the multi-facets of any argument but at heart I believe in a strong system of help for those that need it, for which I am prepared to pay my taxes. At the same time Britain needs to be less profligate in all kinds of areas
    ‘Republican’ you’ve lost me there
    Yes it is true I receive WFA, didn’t deny it. It is currently legal for me to receive it. I am English, a UK resident for over 185 days a year and receive a State pension.
    Since I am in Spain for less than three months a year I am not entitled to any Spanish payouts. I still pay property and basuras tax for the months I am not in Spain and ‘heinous’ standing charges for electricity when I am not here for 9 months of the year
    Correction, my wife does not have a free bus pass. Like her State pension she has had that delayed for 6 years. It is possible in that time that we will all lose our bus passes and it may be that prescriptions will also have to be paid for by anyone under pension age. I have had my bus pass for 8 years and have never used it
    All we ever hear about in the UK are complaints about ‘my rights’ whether from residents or non-residents. Of course there are those that deserve assistance, the devil is in the detail
    Every government has to do it’s best to make the budget, so there are bound to be winners and losers.
    There are some very valid arguments on here but at the end of the day it’s down to Mr Micawber’s principle, and also about taxing Peter to pay handouts to Paul

  14. I admire your tolerant outlook Fred, if you were in charge everyone would get it whether they need it or not. Mind you I do not think you have got the concept of a heating allowance. It is to help with the heating otherwise it would be classed MFB benefit. Money for beer :)

  15. @ Ros – Well said!
    @ John Simpson – Cut and pasted from the online Oxford Dictionary:-
    “Definition of heinous in English:
    (Of a person or wrongful act, especially a crime) utterly odious or wicked”
    I stand by my use of that word!
    I too am English, a UK resident for 365 days a year for 59 years (until 2004) and receive a State Pension. It has likewise been legal for me to receive WFA – until this HEINOUS and discriminatory decision by the UK government. I wonder what LEGAL argument could be put forward for it’s withdrawal from some pensioners whilst others continue to receive it …..
    I also repeat that there are no free handouts for us in Spain, even if we are permanently resident all year round – unless we have paid into the system here. From whom has the information been obtained that there are entitlements to Spanish payouts if we are here for more than three months a year? I’d like to apply for some – but I think I already know what the answer would be! I do agree, though, that “Britain needs to be less profligate” – had it not taxed Peter (and me) to pay handouts to too many others in addition to Paul, this very nasty and seemingly vindictive situation may never have come about.
    I am delighted to read the comment about “heinous standing charges for electricity” – just imagine what the actual bills, especially the winter ones, must total. Life in Spain is definitely not cheap any more!

  16. John, as I said, I’m not against a means-tested system to allocate it in the future. It might just be easier to put up the state pension. I am not concerned in the slightest what a person spends their WFA allowance on when they have already made a massive tax contribution spanning half a century.

  17. It is interesting that British pensioners who are resident in Spain do not get any benefits if they have not paid into the Spanish tax system yet pensioners from other EU member states who retire in the UK can get pension credits (amongst other benefits) even if they have not paid a penny into the UK tax system. Hardly fair is it? The EU always comes down on the UK like a ton of bricks if they try to cut benefits paid to citizens of other EU members states yet they allow Spain to get away with it. Does anyone know why?

    The big problem is that the EU is not a level playing field and this needs to be addressed asap. Otherwise, when we finally get the in/out referendum, it will be an “out” vote and that will leave many people, like those who live full time in Spain, with a real problem on their hands.

    The best solution would be to overhaul the UK benefits system and get rid of all the add-ons like pension credits and just incorporate it with the pension. If the benefits are more integrated and/or not there, the EU cannot tell the UK to pay them to foreigners who have not contributed to the UK system. People are fed up with things like child benefit going to children who do not even live in the UK – it is not fair and it is one of the biggest gripes that people in the UK have at the moment and it has got to change. If the government can get rid of these injustices, it could make a difference to the outcome of the referendum as well as allowing Brits in Spain to keep the WFA. The whole UK benefits system needs a major overhaul because it is doing a very bad job of looking after its own citizens right now.

  18. One Further point all Brits need to bear in mind is that the method they are using to justify their action is including tropical territories into the land mass before calculating the mean winter temperature.
    Therefore once they have succeeded in stopping it for expats it will be a very short lived benefit in the UK.
    The UK encompasses the Virgin Islands amongst others so once the principle is established it will become the norm.

  19. I really dislike reading comments from some people saying ex pats dumped the UK to justify the withdrawal of WFA or not giving a pension increase to those who live in certain territories. In my case I feel the UK dumped me. Successive governments of all persuasions ruined the land of my birth so as to be unrecognisable from what I remember when starting out in my working life which I did from the age of fifteen till the day I retired. I worked hard served in the army and later as a police officer. On top of paying my income tax and national insurance I paid into my police pension at a rate of 11% (not free as some people think) yet because I did what I considered best for me and mine in retirement I am branded a traitor, I still pay UK income tax and will continue to do so till the day I die and I am happy to do so. The traitors are the politicians who squandered our contributions on their pet and vote buying projects. I no longer get the WFA as my wife died last year and personally now do not need it but I know many ex pat pensioners who do and I am disgusted at the way this withdrawal was handled by Iain Duncan Smith. Finally may I point out that Spain doesn’t just consist of the Costa del Sol and not all ex pats are millionaires living off the proceeds of house sales in the UK.

    • Well stated, Peter.
      Any ideas why Iain Duncan Smith didn’t scrap the WFA for expats in Italy, where it has been warmer than Spain in recent days?
      Even though I ‘officially’ retired in 2006, I’ve only received WFA twice, thanks to an intervention by the lads in Brussels.

  20. Well JohnSimpson we are sitting here in Southern Spain whilst the rain beats outside, with a calor gas fire on. I am fully clothed with a thick jumper and boots and I have my dressing gown over that. It is very cold. There is little central heating in Spanish houses, tiled floors and ill fitting sliding windows. I am 65 and my husband is 70 we both are still paying tax to the UK government so there is an entitlement. There are numerous people who are returning to the UK who will then be entitled to pension credit or the equivalent. They are returning because they cannot afford to live here any more due to rising costs. Food has risen and is more expensive than the UK. Fuel costs have also increased. If a millionaire can get the winter fuel allowance perhaps you would like to ask them to forego it as you say the country cannot afford to keep paying it! Hopefully the EU will legislate that this this is unlawful treating one resident of a member state differently.

  21. Some writer seem to have lost sight that the Government of the day can allow or disallow payments and benefits anytime it wants to suit the relevant financial climate
    Those not yet retired are being asked to fund lots of things they don’t agree with either. My 30+ son has many family commitments and he cannot afford much of the things he would like to do. My wife has lost 6 years of State Pension at say £7,000 pa to take into account inflation, but not interest she might have had on investing it. Thus she has potentially lost c.£45,000 because the goalposts were moved – partially because of female equality. What I can tell you is that, after much correspondence with Steve Webb – the Pensions Minister – he doesn’t give a damn. He has a plan, not particularly cunning, and he is not for turning.
    If my wife, and thousands like her, UK residents or non-residents alike, has to suffer in this way it is because the money is deemed not to be there. Thus you can argue until you’re blue in the face but the likelihood is that everyone will lose the WFA eventually but not in election year!
    You cannot please all the people all of the time

    • Nobody has lost sight of the fact that the government of the day can change, cut or allow new benefits, but you seem to have lost sight of the fact that it is mismanagement of our taxes and national insurance contributions by successive governments which has delayed the payment of your wifes pension and not profligate greedy ex pats.

  22. I am happy for expats to receive WFA if they paid their taxes for years. Why not, the UK appears to be supporting two thirds of the world be it in benefits or overseas aid! But, pleese spare me the sob stories. Food more expensive than the UK. I thought everyone was living an idyllic lifestyle, eating out several times a week, sitting in the sun in December….well they were until the withdrawal of the WFA was announced. HaHa.

  23. Peter :- “lost sight of the fact that it is mismanagement of our taxes and national insurance contributions by successive governments which has delayed the payment of your wife’s pension and not profligate greedy ex pats.” No I haven’t but that’s a much larger debate
    Glynis :- I agree today is wet as was Sunday but I am still wearing shorts which I wouldn’t be doing in the UK at the mo. With the exception of those two days I have also had lunch in the sun on bar patios. Be realistic not many are going to refuse to accept financial handouts but most would understand if they were taken from them, as would I – a non-millionaire.

    It is fair to say it must be easier to withdraw the WFA allowance than a lot of the other wasted payments on child allowance for instance. It is a national scandal that people/mothers are being rewarded for having children when they can’t afford them. It is extremely unlikely that children from those bloated families will grow to pay taxes to support pensioners, though wonders never cease.
    I am a little surprised that this removal of the WFA comes in election year when the pensioners’ votes are so important. Let’s not believe though that the Labour Party, or any incoming new Government would reinstate it

    I personally would love every one, myself included, to have every possible handout plus pay low taxes with high savings rates and low mortgages and not have to pay the consequences

    I feel the prices here have gone up in the supermarkets and some years have passed since we were able to say Spain was a cheaper place to live. Much of that is due to fluctuating rates of exchange compared to sterling. However I am told by Irish friends who use the euro that Spain is cheaper than Ireland.

    Never mind cheer up 2014 was the warmest in the UK on record and we are told Global warming is on the way. Perhaps we will be seeking a SCA – work it out

  24. Unless people get a 100,000 signatures on a UK Gov’t website petition for WFA I doubt if there is a thing anyone can do but accept the withdrawal of this benefit.

    I no longer find Spain inexpensive as it was once, each time I go it seems more expensive, whilst in the UK the supermarkets are in a price war, petrol and heating oil has come right down, green technology including solar panels (which do work despite the weather), better insulation etc is expected on new housing developments in the UK, air travel is often cheaper than rail travel home and away. Wine and booze is dearer in the UK but our livers don’t suffer as much. Importantly though, despite those involved in the Spanish property market talking it up even though there’s a huge glut, the UK property market is safer to invest (supply and demand factor) in, and cheaper for transaction costs.

    Most people find the £200 a year WFA goes on other things rather than specifically for heating apart from the really poor and old.

  25. John Simpson, both you and the majority of UK MP’s certainly have several things in common. You are rude, arrogant, contemptuous of others views and spend the majority of your posts, blowing your own trumpet in an attempt (Poor one ) to demoralise others. Oh yes, and you all talk out of you a**e’s.
    There is no Great in Great Britain any more, a succession of onerous governments, formed by people with a similar psyche, not dissimilar to yours, have successively turned our once great country into the laughing stock and social dumping ground of the world.
    I am happy you are happy with your pension status, re the WFA and unused bus pass etc.
    To digress a little from the subject of the WFA, we have a 27 year old daughter who suffered a cerebral haemorrhage, caused by lung complications and asthma, at birth. We were advised to move to Spain for her health benefits, as there are very advanced specialised centres of excellence to assist her with her condition, and living in the mountains, clean air, available here.
    When we moved from the UK, we were completely transparent with the Govt. re our reasons at every level. All information required by them was supplied, for their scrutiny.
    Scrutinised, in microscopic detail it was. I have a dozen Lever Arch files, filled with ridiculous forms from the UK Govt. asking me to furnish a myriad of totally irrelevant details.
    Their level of interest and assistance since we moved to Spain ? ZERO !!! Unless you count the negative interest, ie, a very onerous UK Govt. mission to cancel and withdraw, systematically, all the entitlements of my daughter, one by one. All ‘Re-Assessed’ and found now not applicable for one ‘b*****t’ reason or another.
    Supportive UK Govt. attitude indeed for a family who supports a daughter who is quite severely mentally and physically impaired ?? The systematic stripping away and cancelling each and every level of assistance which the Govt confirmed she was entitled to, before we moved.
    So, as far as the Winter Fuel Allowance goes, give it to a more deserving immigrant to the UK, after all, that is what they have probably done with my daughters entitlements.
    As a British Subject, I have only 50 years of NI contributions to show for my working and living and paying all my taxes and dues, in ‘the best country in the world ??’
    There is nothing on this planet which would entice us back as a family to the UK. It is dead in the water. The whole system is now based on a rolling conveyor belt, tissue of lies.
    I refuse to even watch the UK news any more, it is censored tripe, if you prefer the truth, watch Euro-news for a more balanced and true perception.
    Churchill must be so satisfied to see the country he steered through the war years, so successfully, at such great national cost, wallowing in the financial excrement that the banking institutions caused with the assistance of the Govt.
    If we are to be cold, we will be cold here, supporting the country which treats us better than our own country ever did,
    Maybe the UK Govt. should concentrate more on helping UK citizens, wherever they are in the world, and less on trying to trip them up at every turn and catch them out with every new piece of intrusive legislation they dream up.
    Y Viva España !!!!

  26. The same illogical arguments deny those living in the countries with “frozen state pensions” any rise in their pension incomes when they live abroad even though they paid NI credit all their working lives. I think in the case of Winter Fuel Allowance, though, it is hard to justify it being paid to people in warmer countries.

    When does it come into force in Spain, France and Cyprus? September this year? Do you have to write yourself to the DWP to tell them that you cannot claim it? Or do they send out letters?

  27. I hope John Simpson enjoys watching the TV programme ‘Benefits Britain,’ whilst comparing it and the Eastern European invasion of Britain to what expat British pensioners are being stripped of.

  28. As far as all the moaning ex-pats who are not really ex-pats, but extended holiday makers who still maintain a fictitious UK address and GP, hospital and dentist records etc.
    As my father would have said, had he still been alive, and not died on the roadside, a catastrophic failure of an inadequate response time by an ambulance crew –
    ” Son, you simply cannot educate pork ! ”
    If you want to live in Spain, presumably then, you no longer wish to reside in the UK ??
    Why then, oh why, do you spend all your moaning column time, trying to turn the Spaniards and Spain into a replication of the UK ?? Why crave that which you have abandoned ?? Makes absolutely no sense.
    If you emigrate to another country and culture, should you not embrace that culture, warts and all ???
    Surely it should be kindred to marriage vows : from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish etc.
    If not, you really should not be here, if all you want to do is moan about the way that Spaniards live their lives in THEIR COUNTRY.
    We should be prepared to live our lives according to the ‘new’ regime we have electively chosen to move to, and support that country, 100%.
    If you expect any support from the UK Govt.. whilst you reside in Spain, then you truly are somewhat deluded.
    They have actively tried to remove and block your access to UK TV, knowing that the majority of ex-pat viewers are retired , to any pension increases or similar they can, any financial support at all, tax relief, and worst of all, your right to UK health care, should you choose to return there. They even had to be taken to account by the EU courts re Residency Rules.

  29. Some people may want to live for part of the year in Spain and in the UK for another part of it. What’s wrong with that? Its perfectly legal as long as all necessary rules are complied with. Also what is wrong with wanting equality of treatment and recognition of European rules and regulations by all participating countries of that European Union? It might be THEIR country, but it’s OUR union, if they want to be part of it (and they do, especially the hands out for OUR money part of it) then some of those warts need burning off.

  30. “We should be prepared to live our lives according to the ‘new’ regime we have electively chosen to move to, and support that country, 100%.”

    @Mystic, Spain is part of a European Union and expatriates have rights. Residents are supporting Spain; they are paying taxes, using shops and services, and investing in many, many, different ways. Moving to a EU country means we should be afforded the rights and protections due to us. Sadly, this has not been the case in many aspects of Spanish life, so I would not agree that people just give up and accept what is thrown at them.

  31. I’m not quite sure what Mystic is trying to convey, it’s quite mystifying.
    UK pensioners are entitled to their pensions wherever they live in the EU, and WFA is part of that.
    I moved to Spain before my ‘official’ retirement date and paid private health insurance until the time arrived when my pittance of a pension became available.
    I’m grateful that our health care is paid by the UK and that I won’t be asking for a buss pass.

    I suggest that Mystic Mug picks on UK immigrants who’re only there to draw benefits, not those of us who contributed.

  32. I sit in the middle. Where I agree that you can choose where and how you live the decision is yours but please do not move somewhere then run that country and its people down. It is like banging your head against a wall then spending all your time complaining that it hurts. If where you move to is so bad then go somewhere else.

  33. Mystic, you’ve got the wrong end of the stick. You seem unable to distinguish between conventional immigration when people emigrate lock, stock and barrel to another country and change their nationality from Brits moving to another EU member state. Many of the Brits on here are not resident in Spain and only spend part of the year there and that being the case, they are entitled to use the NHS. You seem rather confused as to the definition of residency, if someone is an extended holiday maker, their UK address is not fictitious is it.

    You should also be aware that many of the issues we complain on here about are things that Spaniards complain about as well. Think about it, the current system has not served them very well either, why do you think so many Spaniards are working in the UK?

    This article is about WFA but your personal grievances seem to go much deeper than that and you have obviously been waiting for an opportunity to voice them. Your comments regarding UK TV remind me of an article written by a rather bitter UK journalist (after a holiday in Spain) when he heard the music from Match of the Day coming from somebody’s terrace on a particularly warm and balmy evening – something than made him very angry but his article made him appear foolish and jealous. By the way, have no fear, we are all still able to get UK TV and yes, I do pay for my TV licence in the UK – bad luck. I take it you are equally unhappy about the thousands of foreigners living in the UK who watch the TV of their country which, incidentally, is widely and freely available via satellite.

    Your post is full of clapped out clichés and also full of holes. I am not quite sure what your problem is but do try to get your facts right before writing such nonsense.

  34. Maybe we are appeoaching this from the wrong angle. If not going abroad is a prerequisit for receiving the WFA then it should be withdrawn, at the least, pro-rata from anyone leaving the country for any reason, after all they don’t consider your reason for leaving to be an issue, and we do have the right to remain british subjects and tax payers wherever we spend our days. And of course if you can afford foreign holidays then winter heating costs should come first.
    I have read a lot of claptrap on here about living on the benefits package provided the EU country that I now reside in. I have not worked here or paid ant tax on income here so why should they be expected to pick up the tab when I have continuously and continue to be a UK tax payer.

    • Ros, strange, can’t grasp your last sentence. “I have not worked here or paid ant tax on income here so why should they be expected to pick up the tab when I have continuously and continue to be a UK tax payer”.

      Firstly, are you a resident in Spain and if so you are a tax resident in Spain. Secondly, are you a pensioner and if so you become a tax resident on your pension in Spain which is taxable, and thirdly, if you are paying tax in the UK on property income then that tax is set against any tax you may pay in Spain. Ie; comes under the Double Taxation System.

  35. Thank you for your clarification of my apparent ignorances. Obviously, persons who are here for less than 180 days per year are fully entitled to maintain their UK residency, whilst participating in the EU arrangements. That was not the point I was attempting top make.
    Not wishing to disappoint, but I have held Spanish Residency for the past twelve years and also pay Autonomo as I am self employed and pay into the Spanish system, this, after 42 years of self employed NI contributions into the UK system.
    To clarify, in the twelve or so years have lived here in Spain, of the so called ex-pats I am introduced to, at a rough estimate, I would say that 80+% of the Brits I meet, proudly inform me that they live here ‘under the radar’ and pay no taxes etc to Spain or the UK, whilst simultaneously maintaining a UK residency status by falsely remaining registered to a GP / Dentist or hospital, utilising a family members address. So much so that the UK Govt. has just put into action, legislation and exchange of information with Spain, in an effort to catch such ‘dodgers’ who are abusing the system in both countries, and are to include the family member at the UK address in said fraud. Maybe if countries were not inundated with such a plethora of fraudsters and cheats, there would indeed be enough left in the pot that the Government would not feel the need to once again kick pensioners directly in the teeth financially. Let’s face it, being retired is when you are supposedly able to kick back and do all the things you never had the time to do whilst you were busy working for a living. Now we have the situation where so few want to work and pay taxes, and can’t wait to spend their benefits on booze and drugs, the only place to economise is pensioners. Once again into the fray……..
    And Pepe Mug, I pick on no immigrants to any country, as I am not a racist … Nor have I elected myself ‘Milk Monitor ‘

    • 42 years of self employed NI contributions into the UK system and 12 years self employed in Spain?
      My arithmetic isn’t too hot, but that looks like 54 years in collar to me.
      You need time off for good behaviour.

      I’ve been a resident in Spain since January 1990, having retired myself at the age of 47 in 1988.

  36. I have never met another person who has openly told me that they live under the radar, illegally, paying no taxes. This would be most unwise. Most expats I know are very private about their affairs. The 80% of the people you meet, Mystic, does not equate to 80% of the total people in existence doing the same thing. I take your comments with a very large pinch of salt lol.

  37. Whilst I am unaware of and cannot comment about the percentages mentioned, I am only too well aware that there are British expats living in my own neighbourhood similar to those mentioned by Mystic. These people make no secret of the fact that they use a family member’s address in the UK in order to continue receiving their UK benefits, access UK GP’s, Hospitals, etc. They actually believe they are being “clever”. I must sadly concede that they are indeed cleverer than I, since they will naturally continue to receive their WFA!

  38. Are you asking me to believe that everyone is telling you that they live under the radar and falsely claim UK benefits. No one has ever confessed to me although I suspect a lot are.

  39. We have had property in Spain since 1998 and nobody has ever told us that they are living under the radar or on benefits. It is not the kind of thing people usually broadcast.

  40. If Marion’s post is addressed to me, I made no mention of “everyone”. Neither have I asked anyone to believe anything. I only stated what I personally know to be a true situation with regard to certain British expats in my own neighbourhood. Whether or not people believe it is their choice. I still find it difficult to believe that a neighbour wished me a cheerful “Buenos días” whilst he was in the process of illegally connecting his house to the electricity supply, quite openly and in broad daylight, but it happened. Obviously some people are more brazen about their activities than others!

    It’s said that nobody likes a “grass”. Well, I don’t like thieves, cheats and fraudsters, so anyone who has the courage to report them has my full admiration and respect – and I may even join their ranks, Pepe!

    • Read all about it:
      The expat benefits cheats:

      It’s now easier than ever to report benefit thieves in Spain.

      Call the UK Benefit Fraud Hotline in Spain on 900 554 440. Lines are open 8am to 4pm Monday to Friday. Your call is free and confidential.
      Or report a benefit thief online

  41. SO out-of-date, Pepe the Daily Mail gullible stooge. Have you not heard of Ian Duncan Smith and his modern-day Inquisition ? Where is the evidence for this 82 million bonanza ? Apart from the Daily Wail fantasists that is.

  42. There’s absolutely no need for the ad hominem, stef.
    I was looking for a link for Pat to report benefit cheats.

    Having lived in Spain for over 25 years, and being apolitical, Brit politics don’t bother me at all.

  43. due to the moral decline and deterioration of respect for the UK throughout the world helped by politicians and weak liberalists since the 1950, Britain is now “owned” by a multitude of non british people. it should be renamed perhaps, as “Federation of Un-united Citizens Kingdom European Disaster”. for short………………………………..

  44. Cute acronym Snoopy, accurate too, since Maggie began the rot of flogging Britain by the pound. Now it is almost complete. Just the bit Under the surface to go and Cuadrilla the killer driller will soon own that fracking lot.

  45. There is no sympathy from people in the UK facing cuts to services about people living in the sun and who prefer to stay away from the UK as a decision that they expect the UK taxpayer to support financially. If they feel this strongly over the scrapping of this Allowance, they always have to option of returning to the UK, in order to receive it. But end up facing the cold of a UK wnter, like the rest. I would be amazed if any major political party in the UK actually ends up supporting its retention in countries like Spain as any sort of priority.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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 !!!

Leave a Reply

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

ballet box
Previous Story

Giant step for expats

Putin zagaleta house
Next Story

Putin and Pingus deny wine collaboration

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press