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George Osborne axes winter fuel payments for expats


Chancellor George Osborne says the winter fuel allowance will be subject to a “temperature test” from April 2015 to stop expats in hot countries receiving the payments.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week to deliver the Government’s comprehensive spending review for 2015/16, Osborne said spending money on winter fuel payments to expats is “not fair” and the change will save £30m a year.

Expats living in countries that have a higher average winter temperature than the warmest part of the UK will lose the payments.

Osborne said: “We will stop the cost of the winter fuel allowance to those abroad rising in a way that no one ever intended. EU law says people living in the economic area can claim winter fuel payments from us even if they did not get them when they left the UK.

“Paying out even more money to people from all nationalities who may have worked in this country years ago but no longer live here is not a fair use of the nations’s cash.

“From the autumn of 2015 we will link the winter fuel payment to a temperature test so people in hot countries will no longer get it. It is, after all, a payment for winter fuel.”

Labour has pledged to scrap the winter fuel allowance for higher rate taxpayers, saving £100m a year. The Conservatives have promised to protect pensioner benefits during this parliament but have included them in a welfare spending cap to be introduced in April 2015.

FortyTwo Wealth Management partner Alan Dick says: “The winter fuel allowance should be abolished for anyone who does not need it rather than on a country by country basis. It cannot be right that higher rate taxpayers receive it.”


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  1. I retired in 2003 and in 2005 moved, with my husband who was 65 in 2011, to Spain. Before leaving the UK I confirmed with the DWP that I would still be entitled to the WFP. I was told that as I had retired whilst still living in the UK I would still get it. Now, with a faltering economic climate I find that my income will be cut by almost £4 per week. Which immigrant family/ out of work person am I helping to keep? It is immoral of this Government to cut the income of all the pensioners who have contributed to the State, in my case for over 40 years, and now in the years when our needs have changed to deny us a payment for which we have worked, and for which we have been accustomed to receiving. They should bear in mind that while Spain may feel warm to a visitor in February, it can be very cold living here when our bodies have become acclimatised to the different temperatures. We feel the heat in the summer, so need air con and the cold in winter, so need heating. Our heating bill for the four months, January – April was in the region of €1200, surely in line with similar properties in the UK – 3 bedroom 140sq metres.
    As a Spanish resident I can no longer vote in UK elections, but I do have a voice, and in my opinion this Government should listen to it and all the other ex-pats who will suffer as a result of this decision.

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