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More and more British expats claiming winter heating allowance

More and more British expats claiming winter heating allowance

Diamond Jubilee - Buckingham Palace ConcertBritish expat pensioners claimed received more than £21 million in benefits from the British government last year, including more than £16 million for winter fuel payments.

New figures released by the Department for Work and Payments reveal that a total of £21.7million was paid out to British pensioners living abroad in 2013-14, up from £21.4million in 2012-13. A sizable increase in the number of expats claiming the tax-free winter fuel allowance is deemed to be responsible for this increase, even though many claimants live in countries which are far hotter than the UK.

The recent data shows that £8million was sent to British pensioners in Spain, where the number of British expats claiming the benefit has risen by 44 per cent in just two years to 139,000. Elsewhere, £5million was sent to pensioners living in France, while £1.4 million was sent to those in Cyprus and £579,000 to Portugal.

Fuel payments are intended to help hard-up British pensioners pay for energy bills to heat their homes during winter, no matter whether they live in the UK or not. However, earlier this year the British government revealed that it would look to introduce legislation looking to stop wealthy pensioners, or those living in countries where the average temperature is warmer than the UK, from being able to claim the allowance.

“Winter fuel payments are intended to encourage older people in Britain to keep themselves warm,” explained a spokesperson from the Department of Work and Payments. “It was never intended to be paid in warmer countries.

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  • Fuel4us

    Odd – no mention of the cancellation of payments to existing beneficiaries as of 2015. Or of the fact that many of those from whom the payments will be withheld actually live in regions colder than the UK’s warmest region. Spain, for example, is a huge country, most of which is nowhere near a beach (and even those bits which are aren’t necessarily warmer than the UK in winter)
    A proper discussion of the issues would be nice – especially on a site supposedly dealing with issues concerning people from the UK living abroad.

  • Alf Bloggs

    I’m sure those that get it will use the money to pay the British Broadcasting receiving licence, so they can watch Coronation st and East Enders with a clear conscience? 🙂

  • Russell Griffiths

    What clown wrote this? DWP is the Department of Work and Pensions, not Payments.