UK in a move to cut expats' winter fuel allowance
George Osborne has announced this week the introduction of a “temperature test” for the winter fuel payment that is based on whether or not the country of residence for expats has, on average, warmer winters than the South-West of England.
The new measures are due to commence in the winter of 2015. Mr Osborne said: “We will link the winter fuel payment to a temperature test. People in hot countries will no longer get it; it is after all a payment for winter fuel.” He also added that paying the benefit to people who live in hot countries was not a “fair use of the nation’s cash”.
It is thought that the analyses of European winters concludes that cuts will be seen for expats in Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain, meaning that around 115,000 Brits living abroad will be affected.
Recent statistics show that the British government paid around £3.1million in Winter Fuel Allowances to expats in France for the winter of 2011-2012, and almost £6million to those in Spain for the same period.
Cutting the payments through the use of the temperature test will, reportedly, save the government £30million a year on the basis that the current payments are between £100-£300. However, pensioners in colder countries will still receive the winter payments.