You morally repugnant bastards.
David Cameron, the wonderful Tory party. I'm talking about you.
I fully accept that there may be pensioners living in a climatic zone for which receiving a Winter Fuel Payment does not make a lot of sense. Barbados, for instance, sees temperatures in the mid 20s in winter, and it is much the same for Cyprus.
However, the rules that were made were that the country should, on average, be colder than the warmest part of the United Kingdom (Cornwall). The raw data used by the DWP was sourced from the University of East Anglia which places the winter temperature of France (all of France including Corsica) at 5.08°C. The south west of England, being the warmest part of the country, was quoted as 5.6°C.
Some links at this point:
However, around 60,000 British pensioners live in France (and receiving £200 each, that equals a tidy 12 million - although Ian Duncan Smith's official figures quote it as paying £5.1M to OAPs living in France?!?; more than enough to fund the MP's pay rise of £7,600 per month (+11%)). As the rancid British government is still smarting from the EU ruling that they had to pay the Winter Fuel Payment out fairly in the first place, any approach would be good if it would allow a large number of pensioners to be discounted in the future.
The solution? Include DOM. This means Départements d'Outre Mer, such places as Guyane. Yes, that place hanging off the southern Americas where they launch the rockets (it is practically on the equator - that's why it is good for rocket launches). Due to a complicated and convoluted process, it is considered a part of France, it does have a département number, and the citizens can even vote in European elections. Therefore, it is specifically not a part of what is called "metropolitan France", as in that country between Germany and Spain. Figures for DOM was not included in the original data. The government added that in afterwards.
With the inclusion of DOMs, the winter temperature of France is raised, and we no longer qualify. Spain, likewise, does not qualify. Italy, on the other hand, with lovely Tuscan landscapes, Sicilian olive groves that bask in the summer sun, oranges, and other citrus fruit, does qualify thanks to having a large chunk of cold mountainous regions.
With France and Spain excluded, that actually excludes the vast majority of EU ex-pat pensioners.
Ian Duncan Smith said: "The huge increase in UK Winter Fuel Payments made to people living in EEA countries equates to a near doubling in costs to the British taxpayer and follows a ridiculous ruling by the European Court of Justice." and this was followed up by UKIP's Paul Nuttall who said "Once again the EU puts its nose where it's not welcome and helps itself to money from the pockets of British taxpayers. The fact that some foreign pensioners living abroad will now receive winter fuel allowance is simply madness.".
You stupid self-serving Daily-Mail-reading asshats.
Let's examine this in a little more detail. For starters, I know a huge majority of, frankly, dumb English people believe that the EU helps itself to British money. Well, in this instance we are not looking at the EU ruling that the British taxpayer should fund random European pensioners.
No. These people are British Citizens.
Why the hell should they, after making contributions to the British NI during their working lives, not be entitled to some of the benefits?
If all of these people were living in the UK, they would all qualify.
My mother, for example, has 39 years of contributions. Working and living in the UK. She is now living in France, a more peaceful country where the pace of life is different to how it used to be in the UK. Well, I don't see the government refunding anything because she is no longer using various resources within the UK.
It gets better, still. Part of the agreements made are that ex-pats who qualify for medical cover qualify according to the rules of the host country. This means that my mother is covered for 70%, just like French people. The remaining 30% is handled by a "top-up policy", which given my mother's age, is costing her €62 a month.
My mother had an idea. Why not forgo the Winter Fuel Payment, and provide pensioners with complete medical coverage just like they would receive in the UK?
Are you still doing that bus passes thing? I'm sure my mother would appreciate a bus pass for the bus that comes though here, like once a week.
But, as pointed out above, in bold letters, you, the excremental British government, would happily scream bloody murder about the EU telling you to do stuff, and treating your own citizens living abroad as if they were "Johnny Foreigner", and make being a British pensioner about as pleasant as being dead.
By the way, using your definition - the average winter temperature of 'Britain' is about 12°C. Well... you think Gibraltar is British, don't you?
(history is messy like that, and you - Westminster - are corrupt)
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