I must have pulled a muscle while carrying a couple of 12.5kg butane gas cylinders – required to heat our home in this warm climate that Ian Duncan Smith and his minions envision.
The e-petition 'Stop the Governments victimisation of pensioners living abroad who have contributed to the welfare state by withdrawing their winter fuel payment' recently reached 14,796 signatures and a response has been made to it.
As this e-petition has received more than 10,000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:
“The Government remains committed to protecting key support for older people for the life of this Parliament, in line with Coalition Agreement. Winter Fuel Payments are non-contributory and were originally introduced to give older people in the UK the reassurance they can keep warm during cold weather. However, following a European Court judgment, Winter Fuel Payments are now also made to eligible people living outside the UK in another European Economic Area (EEA) Member State and Switzerland. To help return to the original policy intention, the Government intends to bring in an eligibility criterion, effective from winter 2015/16, based on country of residence with Winter Fuel Payments going only to eligible people living in EEA countries with colder climates.” This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100,000 signature threshold.”
In other words, nothing has changed; they're not listening. Am I surprised?
So, in effect, as predicted in my blog here, they’ll play with statistics to exclude expat pensioners who have and indeed in many cases still are paying UK taxes. Their get-out clause is that the winter fuel payment is ‘non-contributory’ which suggests that tax-payers didn’t contribute, which is a load of baloney, since any money that the government hands out is from the taxpayer – past and present.
Cold comfort, indeed.