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No Winter Fuel payment in 2015

Pensions minister lays amendment to benefits law before parliament – and it is likely to be approved without debate

WINTER Fuel Payments for British pensioners in France will not be paid out for winter 2015/16 as the government today laid a new Regulation before Parliament excluding France from the list of countries where it will be paid.

More than 95,000 British pensioners living outside the UK, in France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus, will lose the annual £100-£300 Winter Fuel Allowance payment.

However, anyone who has not previously claimed the allowance can still receive the 2014/15 payment if they lodge their claim before March 31. You must have been born on or before July 5, 1952 and live in the EU or Switzerland. (You can find details on how to claim here). If you have previously claimed there is no need to lodge a new claim.

Signed in the name of Pensions Minister Steve Webb, the Social Fund Winter Fuel Payment (Amendment) Regulations 2014 says that Mr Webb wanted to “ensure that the payment is better targeted on people who live in countries with a cold climate”.

However, it makes no direct mention of the temperature test that the government ordered which included readings from France’s tropical territories to ensure that the average French temperature was higher than the UK.

The so-called Statutory Instrument was laid this morning to come into force from September 21, 2015, and it is likely to pass through the Standing Committee without debate.

Connexion will be doing a full story in January's issue, which is on sale in shops from December 27.

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