More than 100,000 expats to lose winter fuel allowance after Osborne reveals plans for 'temperature test' for the benefit
- Chancellor will unveil proposals to restrict expats from claiming the benefit
- He will confirm today there is to be a crackdown on the
- 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
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'.
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
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
Headlines Newsview all
Another explosion hit Kano, coming just 24 hours after the state suffered three bomb explosions in different locations. Today’s blast took place at the NNPC ...
This might look weird, but the former militant leader, Dokubo-Asari has alleged that the bomb attack on former Military Head of State was planned by ...
2 Bombs went off in northern Nigeria’s main city of Kano, killing 6 people and wounded 13 others on Sunday, a senior police officer said. The ...
Rate this article
- Video Footage Of 2nd Jos Bomb Blast
- Listen To Leaked Call Of Jim Iyke Cursing Out Emma Agu
- Wale Expected Back In Nigeria Soon To Release A Track With Olamide
Nollywood actress and wife of award winning music artiste, 2face Idibia, Annie, has revealed that she will not allow her children go through the emotional ...
Top South African role-interpreter, Xolile Tshabalala, has been appointed as the Ambassador for Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).The pretty lady held a meeting with the ...
Ahead of the prestigious Best of Nollywood (BON) awards ceremony, which takes place later in the year; organisers of the event have concluded plans to ...
Top Ghanaian actress, Juliet Ibrahim, who recently announced her divorce to her fans, was at an event in the United States of America (USA), where ...
There is no doubt that Ghanaian movie stars, Yvonne Nelson and John Dumelo are very close, but latest statement from the former indicates she is ...
Do you have a story/gist for publication? Please email it to email@example.com LILILL Zamfara | 7/28/2014 3:13:57 PM Habiba Abubakar, your beauty mark is x/20 where x ...
Mavin Records artiste, Sidney Esiri popularly known as Dr. Sid, and his fiancée, Simi Osomo tied the knot on Sunday, July 27, 2014 at the ...
Presh of the defunct KC Presh music group has pointed out that he should not be compared with KCee, who many believe is doing better ...
In 2013, news went viral alleging that a Beninoise actress-cum-musician, Ella Martins, was having a romantic affair with Nollywood actress, Genevieve Nnaji, and not, the ...
Nigeriafilms.com has confirmed that an account of top Nollywood star, Jim Iyke, earlier operated by an impostor on popular photo sharing website, Instagram, has been ...