A LEADING campaigner for the rights of UK expatiates has voiced his anger at George Osborne's plans to end the winter fuel allowance for pensioners living in France.
Brian Cave, of the Votes for Expat Brits website, says the chancellor has used inflammatory phrases when outlining the 'temperature test' plan that will see those living in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus, lose their entitlement to the benefit from 2015 as they have warmer winter weather.
"The misinformed, misleading, nature of Osborne’s phrases are disgraceful," Brian Cave said.
"He has chosen loaded words which are meant to colour the thoughts of the listener so that the listener is made to understand something other than the truth.
"The most famous propagandist of the last century said 'the point of a political speech is to persuade people of what we think is right'. This is not truth, the whole truth, but it is 'propaganda'."
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, when delivering his spending review, George Osborne said about the winter fuel payment: "Paying out even more money to people from all nationalities who may have worked in this country years ago but no longer live here is not a fair use of the nation’s cash.
"So from the autumn of 2015, we will link the winter fuel payment to a temperature test. People in hot countries will no longer get it."
For Brian Cave the chancellor's use of words was a direct ploy to mislead, believing the chancellor played freely with the facts.
"His use of 'people from all nationalities' when the overwhelming majority of recipients of the winter fuel payment in Europe, are like myself, British is used to suggest that the money is not going to British people," Brian said.
"Then he says 'who may have worked in this country'. Expats here receive a state pension, thus they most certainly have worked in Britain. The word 'may' is used to imply a sense of idleness. Would he have dared omit the word 'may'?"
In coming up with the list of countries where the payment will be stopped the government used data from the last 29 years supplied by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
But Brian Cave wonders if expatriates in Brittany, or in the Auvergne, will be warmer than those living in the south west of England, which was used as the point of common reference.
"True, the winter fuel payment is a stupid payment," Brian Cave said. "But it should be administered equally everywhere. My opinion is that it should be incorporated into the state pension but paid as an increase to the regular monthly payments in December, incorporating the equally bizarre £10 Christmas bonus.
"But also making the whole taxable and in that manner the better-off would lose some of it."
A key element of Brian Cave's campaign work has been to ensure UK expats are represented in Parliament and that voting rights are extended beyond the current 15 year cut-off point.
"Antipathy is raised against the expatriate in Parliament and in the press," Brian Cave said. "We have no effective voice. Is it not time that we had a political voice?"
"If you have not already done so, send a statement of evidence to the Parliamentary Committee which one sincerely hopes is seriously considering the representation of the overseas electorate."
Website: Votes for Expat Brits
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