Despite Winter Fuel Payments for older expats in France ending this autumn, the campaign to reinstate them continues.
Brian Cave, of the Votes for Expat Brits website, is urging people to contact their own MPs, or that of where they last lived in the UK, to raise the issue with Frank Field MP.
Frank Field (above) is chairman of the Select Committee for Work and Pensions and in reply to Brian Cave said: "The Committee has no plans, at present, to investigate the specific matter you raise but I am always open to suggestions from colleagues.
"Might I suggest, therefore, that any friends or relatives of yours living in the UK should ask their local MP to take up this matter in the House?"
Brian Cave believes this is a positive step and is urging people to contact individual MPs to write to Frank Field, requesting the committee to include in their investigations the issue of the unnecessary hardship to be caused by the selective withdrawal of the Winter Fuel Payments.
All pensioners living in France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus, will no longer get the benefit as the government claims they enjoy warmer winter weather than the UK.
Brian Cave has put forward suggested wording for a letter that can be sent to your MP:
To XXXXX MP.
Subject – WINTER FUEL PAYMENT [WFP]
Dear ------------------ I, as a constituent, request that you write to Frank Field MP, Chairman of the Select Committee for Work & Pensions, on the basis of the following information:
From this September under the Statutory Instrument 3270 of 2014 introduced by Iain Duncan Smith as Secretary of State for the DWP, this benefit [WFP] is to be withdrawn from elderly British Citizens in 6 countries and one British dependency in the EU (below referred as 7 'countries').
The DWP is claiming that the withdrawal is justified by invoking a temperature check on these 7 'countries', in comparison with SW England but:
* There are many elderly British Citizens living in these 7 'countries' who are in need of the WFP. Visit www.lefourquet.net/Hardup-dossier.doc to read of some 17 of these citizens. It is apparent that they are discriminated against by the operation of SI 3270.
* 35 MPs signed the EDM 695 last year ‘praying’ that the SI 3270 be annulled. (11-Con- 12 Lab – 8 LD – 2 SNP – 1 Gr – 1 Ind.)
* There is evidence that these temperature checks have been falsely calculated, for example they include in the case of France, temperatures of Caribbean and Indian Ocean territories which are French possessions, but are not France.
* It is further clear that the fact that winter temperatures in many districts of France and even Spain fall well below those in SW England.- Spain, Cyprus, Portugal (Estrela) and of course France. e.g. all have tourist ski resorts.
* Furthermore, winter temperatures in these countries all fall below that which require home heating to maintain health.
In addition, this is contrary to EU Regulation 883/2004 ---- Article 7 which states:
Waiving of residence rules:
Unless otherwise provided for by this Regulation, cash benefits payable under the legislation of one or more Member States or under this Regulation shall not be subject to any reduction, amendment, suspension, withdrawal or confiscation on account of the fact that the beneficiary or the members of his family reside in a Member State other than that in which the institution responsible for providing benefits is situated.
Could you please write to Frank Field MP DL .. within Parliament requesting that the Select Committee for Work & Pensions considers in their investigations the hardship to be caused by selective withdrawal of the WFP from certain British pensioners resident within the EU in September.
Expats in France look set to lose winter fuel allowance
How 30 British pensioners in the DOM-TOMs have been used to cut winter fuel payments to 60,000
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I did this last year and my mp totally ignored my request.
So, don't expect anything to happen any time soon. They only act when it benefits them.
Posted by: valerie addy | 02 September 2015 at 17:34
I wrote THREE times to my MP, who flatly refused to help: she said she was required to follow the party whip, and as she is a Conservative MP, that figures.
Posted by: carol | 03 September 2015 at 12:41
Let us demand SFA (Summer Fuel Allowance) to pay for our airconditioning. More people die in France from heat related conditions than hyperthermia.
Posted by: Peter Griffin | 03 September 2015 at 15:22