MORE than 200,000 British pensioners living outside the UK are set to lose the right to claim the UK’s Winter Fuel Payment – yet a petition registered on a UK government website against this has attracted just 15,000 signatures.
The Connexion is interested in knowing why more people have not signed to keep the £200 - £300 payment.
A European Court ruling in 2011 means that British pensioners living in another EU country who have a “sufficient link” to the UK’s social security system should qualify for the payment.
A Department for Work and Pensions study recently stated that entitlement to the state pension could be seen as sufficient to meet the link criteria.
Recent government data shows there are 459,760 British pension recipients in these countries and 206,690 of them are in the seven countries set to lose the WFP by the winter of 2015/16 (that is Cyprus, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Malta, Portugal and Spain.)
If you are affected by this and have not signed the petition we would like to find out why.
Is it because you feel government e-petitions do not have clout? Do you feel you do not merit the payment as you live outside the UK ? Did you not know about the petition? Is it warm where you live? Or is it another reason? Please email us your views at news[at]connexionfrance.com
If the petition passes the 100,000 mark, it is highly likely to be debated in parliament.
The Connexion believes the WFP issue and many others affecting expats would be best addressed by British expats having their own representation in the UK parliament, as France has for its expats. A petition has been set up to campaign for this – it can be found at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/55085.
British citizens living in the UK or abroad can sign these petitions. If you find a French postcode is not accepted, leave this field blank.