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Winter Fuel Payment scrapped for Portugal's British expats

snowtyreBad news indeed for British Expats in Portugal, France, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Malta and Gibraltar as the UK government has put in motion specific legislation to stop UK Winter Fuel Payments from September 15, 2015.

The changes are contained in the 'Statutory Instrument to The Social Fund Winter Fuel Payments (Amendment) Regulations 2014' which excludes the benefit, currently payable at between £200 and  £300 a year.

Many British expats are sickened by the Department for Work and Pensions which, under the direction of minister Iain Duncan-Smith, based calculations on the average temperature taken in the warmest part of the UK, the balmy south west of England.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said that the government wanted to “ensure that the payment is better targeted on people who live in countries with a cold climate.”

Calls from expat organisations to at least have the payment means tested were ignored as this would be 'too complicated to administer.'

Those European countries with higher average temperatures are now excluded from receiving the universal benefit payable to qualifying ex-UK pensioners.

The DWP also decided in its omnipotence that the UK winter is now five months long from November to March, so as to exclude the maximum number of countries by including two warmer months to increase average recorded temperatures.

For France the tactics got even meaner with the inclusion of certain French tropical territories to raise the average temperature calculation thus ensuring shivvering expats in central France were denied the benefit which was designed to help towards fuel bills.

The statutory amendment is likely to pass through the Standing Committee without debate.

This legislative route is being used specifically to avoid any further debate on the topic and the government is sure of its stance that, as so few expats bother to register to vote, it will not noticeably be affected in the next election due to take place in 2015. 

There is a definate move by expat organisations to mobilise and make clear the case for expats to register to vote as without registration, expats have no UK MP to complain to.

For those in Portugal getting by on a basic state pension and not troubling the UK government with healthcare, social housing and care costs, this reduction in income of around 4% at a time of rising electricity, water, rates, council taxes and other basic living costs is an unwelcome blow.

For a view on France, see:


and Cyprus, see:


To register to vote, which is easy, see:


and see also:




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0 #3 RCK 2014-12-18 18:03
Spot on article Ed. Grossly unfair decision taking all things into consideration (& as I have said before, I have no personal axe to grind on this issue)
-1 #2 Mr John 2014-12-17 16:48
I'm pretty cold right now, can i get some money,,,, please.
+5 #1 chez 2014-12-17 09:47
They could save far more money if they scrapped the £300 per day attendance allowance given to members of the House of Lords, a practice that has been proven to be abused. It's Unlikely to happen as the "Quiet Man" and his cronies will all eventually end up in the Lords also on the take!

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