Chancellor George Osborne says the winter fuel allowance will be subject to a “temperature test” from April 2015 to stop expats in hot countries from receiving the payments.
Speaking in the House of Commons today 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.
He 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 didn’t 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 until 2015.