THE ban on British expats in “hot” countries like France receiving the Winter Fuel Payment is expected to be presented to parliament in early 2015, say DWP officials.
However there may not be any automatic parliamentary debate on the issue. “The legislation creating the WFP allowed for changes to be presented as new regulations and it is up to parliament to decide whether they need to debate them or not; often in this kind of matter they do not,” said a spokesman for the department.
The regulations will be laid before parliament in 2015 and will list those countries in which people will be allowed to claim the payment from winter 2015/16. They will have to be finalised before the next UK general election, expected to be in May 2015.
This will not include France, as it is deemed to be hotter than the south-west of the UK, and therefore British pensioners are banned from receiving the £200 -£300 annual payment.
As Connexion reported, the temperature data used by the UK government included France’s five overseas tropical departments Guadeloupe, Martinique, Mayotte, Réunion, and French Guiana where 30 retired Britons are listed by the government as living there, compared to 59,600 in mainland France.
If you feel that the ban on Britons in France is wrong you should sign the petition at Winter Fuel Payment petition.
The petition is open to all British nationals whether living in the UK or abroad. If you live outside the UK do not enter a postcode (this stops your signature), instead leave this field blank.
As we went to press the petition had 6,300 signatures – but it needs 10,000 in order to receive a written response to it from the UK government.
If it received 100,000 or more signatures it will give rise to a House of Commons debate (unless eg. the topic is subject to legal proceedings or has already - or is about to be - been debated by the house).
Please pass on the petition details to others.
The Connexion will be covering this issue in its October edition. Order your copy by calling Nathalie on 06 40 61 71 97.