Expat pensioners lose winter fuel allowance

Expat pensioners lose winter fuel allowance
Published:  28 Jun at 9 AM
British expat pensioners who have moved to warmer countries will no longer be eligible to claim the winter fuel allowance. In the Spending Review, Chancellor George Osborne said a new temperature test had been introduced that meant those living in warmer countries including Gibraltar, France, Greece, Portugal and Spain would no longer be able to claim the benefit worth up to £300 annually.

The Chancellor said it was unfair for the taxpayer to have to pay money that was not needed and estimated that the new rules will save around £300 million a year. Poorer pensioners living in warmer climates will be stripped of the subsidy, but richer retirees living in colder countries will still be able to claim the allowance.

Last year the European Court of Justice ruled that the benefit should be paid to all 440,000 pensioners living abroad. This would cost the Treasury more than £100 million. Mr Osborne said the nation’s cash was not there to be spent on people who no longer live in the UK and who may not have worked at home for years.

The temperature test has been created by the Treasury with the help of the Met Office. The study looked at average temperatures across Europe and in the UK and found that the warmest part of the country is the South West.

Pensioners living in countries that have a higher average temperature will now no longer be helped with their winter fuel bills.