More than 100,000 expats to lose winter fuel allowance after Osborne reveals plans for 'temperature test' for the benefit

// World | More than 100,000 expats to lose winter fuel allowance after Osborne reveals plans for 'temperature test' for the benefit
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font
  • Chancellor will unveil proposals to restrict expats from claiming the benefit
  • He will confirm today there is to be a crackdown on the ‘sunshine benefits’
  • Almost £2million goes abroad every week to claimants

By Daily Mail Reporter

PUBLISHED: 17:21 EST, 25 June 2013 | UPDATED: 09:29 EST, 26 June 2013

404 shares

720

View
comments

More than 100,000 expat pensioners face losing winter fuel payments as George Osborne today reveals plans for a ‘temperature test’.

The Chancellor will unveil proposals to restrict elderly Britons living in warmer countries from claiming the benefit – worth up to £300 a year – according to government sources.

There has been increasing controversy over pensioners’ free TV licences, bus passes and winter fuel payments, with half the Cabinet arguing that they should be limited if further squeezes on working-age welfare are to be justified.

Scroll down for video

Cuts: More than 100,000 expat pensioners face losing winter fuel payments as George Osborne today reveals plans for a 'temperature test'.

Cuts: More than 100,000 expat pensioners face losing winter fuel payments as George Osborne today reveals plans for a 'temperature test'.

David Cameron pledged at the last election that the fuel payments would be protected until 2015, leading to months of wrangling over whether expats should also keep their benefits.

However the Chancellor will confirm in today’s spending review that there is to be a crackdown on the so-called ‘sunshine benefits’ after the next election.

Almost £2million goes abroad every week to claimants who qualify for welfare despite leaving the UK.

It is expected that pensioners living in European countries, who can currently claim a range of benefits, will lose winter fuel payments if they live in a region with a higher average winter temperature than the warmest region of the UK.

This system would disqualify an estimated 120,000 people and save £30million a year after 2015/16, when it is expected to come into force.

Controversially, richer pensioners who have emigrated to colder countries will continue to receive the payments, while poorer pensioners will lose it if they live in warmer areas.

Plans: The Chancellor will unveil proposals to restrict elderly Britons living in warmer countries from claiming the benefit ¿ worth up to £300 a year ¿ according to government sources

Plans: The Chancellor will unveil proposals to restrict elderly Britons living in warmer countries from claiming the benefit - worth up to £300 a year - according to government sources

Traditionally, people have only been eligible for the winter fuel payment if they were living in Britain at the age of 60 and then moved abroad.

But thanks to a ruling by the European Court of Justice, the UK could be forced to pay out to all 444,000 British pensioners living abroad – costing us up to £100million a year.

The court insisted that any elderly expat should be able to get the fuel payment, no matter what age they were when they left Britain. And there has been a 13-fold rise in the number of expats claiming the benefit in the last decade.

The latest figures show 33,815 pensioners living in Spain receive the payment, worth £200 for the over-60s and £300 for those over the age of 80. This costs taxpayers £5.8million a year, despite the fact that temperatures in Spain can reach 63F (17C) in December and January.

There are 18,155 recipients in France, many of them in the south where winter temperatures are often a comfortable 57F (14C). Other warm countries with large numbers of recipients include Italy, Portugal and Greece.

‘The bill is going to go up further and that isn’t sustainable,’ said a source. ‘In order to keep the cost under control we are going to be looking at changing the rules and introducing a temperature test.

‘It can’t be right that a payment meant to help people through cold winters is going to those living in the Mediterranean.’

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith are among those in the Cabinet who have been pressing for a rethink on universal pensioner benefits.

Mr Duncan Smith told the Mail last year: ‘The winter fuel payment is about helping British pensioners with heating costs and it is ludicrous we could have to pay more pensioners living in hot countries.’

Around 12million people in the UK receive the payment each year, but critics say it should be limited to poorer pensioners who need help with fuel bills.

However thanks to Mr Cameron’s pledge, there is no question of winter fuel payments for those living in the UK being cut or means-tested until at least 2016. 

MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS

MOST READ NEWS

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Pop Artiste Oritsefemi Accused Of Absconding After Collecting Money For Show In Czech

The brewing controversy surrounding the Europe tour of pop artiste, Orisefemi. is growing into uncontrollable proportions with the main actors throwing the punches of accusations ... Full story

Nigeria's National debt rises to N10.8tn

The total debt of the Federal Government,  the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory rose from N8.32tn on September 30, 2013 ... Full story

Senators Initiate Move To Impeach President Goodluck Jonathan

Some Peoples Democratic Party’s senators on Monday started impeachment moves against President Goodluck Jonathan over what they described as the high level of impunity and ... Full story

P-Square's Dad Dies After Knee Surgery

This is not the best of times for the Okoye family as they have reportedly lost their father. Pa Okoye is said to have passed away ... Full story

Stephanie Okereke Linus Addresses Brother's Arrest Over Rape

Stephanie Linus has released a statement addressing the rape allegations against her older brother, Daniel Okereke, who was arrested for allegedly molesting a UNILAG student ... Full story

Three Killed, 10 Houses Burnt In Ibadan Mayhem

At least three people were killed and 10 houses destroyed by armed youths who  invaded Born Photo, Isale Osi, Idi Arere and Popoyemoja in Ibadan ... Full story

Boko Haram Militants Attack Traders In Borno State Market

Many market men and women are feared dead after Boko Haram militants disguised as traders attacked a market in Damasak town in the Mobar Local ... Full story

D'banj Dragged To Court Over Debt Mess

This are indeed not the best times for koko master, and has a matter of fact this is the first time I am hearing D’banj ... Full story

Femi Fani-Kayode insults Governor Rotimi Amaechi - 'You are a pot bellied, house boy, monkey and cultist'

In a Facebook post titled The Pot-bellied Creek Haramite And His Direct Threat, former Aviation minister Femi Fani Kayode slammed River State governor, Rotimi Amaechi, ...

Fresh Boko Haram Attack In Borno State Leaves 45 Dead!

At least 45 people were killed in a suspected Boko Haram attack in northeast Nigeria, officials and witnesses said on Thursday, in the latest violence ... Full story

Nebraska Man Erected A Roadside Sign That Read: 'Aids, Ebola, Obama. Thank You Africa'

A hateful roadside sign blaming Africa for disease and Barrack Obama was erected by a man near a highway in Minden, Nebraska, and was soon ... Full story

Comment on: More than 100,000 expats to lose winter fuel allowance after Osborne reveals plans for 'temperature test' for the benefit

Rate this article

0

Featured author

Mandy Heuman

Breaking News

Genevieve Nnaji, Others Show Keen Interest in New Mobile Phone.[Pictures]

The event which was used to unveil its service on the new mobile phones, had fans asking for more as they were entertained by talented ...

Mo'Cheddah And Lover Shine At Etisalat iParty [Pictures]

Ko Ma Roll crooner and ace Yoruba rapper, Modupe Oreoluwa otherwise known as Mo’Cheddah seem to be savouring the best of romantic relationships. The 24-year old ...

Nollywood Actor, Nonso Diobi Surprises Female Fan With N.1m

If recent happenings in the entertainment industry are anything to go by, especially with the way entertainers splash cash on some of their fans, it ...

Lola Okoye Pays Glowing Tribute To Late Father-In-Law

The entire family Okoye family are still in mourning mood since they lost their father yesterday, November 24. Lola Omotayo, wife of Peter Okoye, the other ...

After 18 Years Of Childlessness, Couple Blessed With Quadruplet

Mrs. Clara Dominique, has been barren for 18 years, but strongly believed that God's time is the best, thus she endured all the tribulations that ...

Bambitious: First Ever Movie to be Premiered In Enugu

...Sele Bobo, Pete Edochie, Mr. Ibu others set to grace event It is a known fact that Enugu State has over the years been the African ...

How I Lied To Make Her My Wife- Ralph Nwadike Tells Story To Celebrate 19 Year Old Marriage

Ralph Nwadike needs no introduction in the entertainment industry, but for the benefit of those who are not so familiar with the name. Ralph is a ...

9ice Causes Stir In Ibadan

Nigerian politicians seem to have devised a new means to create unnecessary perception about their personality just to make the electorates believe they (politicians) are ...

P-Square Turns Orphans, As They Lose Father

This is not the best of times for the Okoye family as they have reportedly lost their father.Pa Okoye is said to have passed away ...

Channel O Unveils List Of Performers For Saturday’s Award Ceremony

The list of those expected to thrill guests at the 2014 Channel O Africa Music Video Awards (CHOAMVA14) has been released by organisers of the ...