Freezing weather in Majorca.

02-12-2014Josep Bagur Gomila

THE number of British expatriates who are claiming the winter fuel allowance in Spain is continuing to rise despite plans to by the coalition government to curtail payments to British expatriates living abroad.
A total of 139,000 people were paid the benefit for last winter, British government figures reveal.
The comparable figure for two years previously – the winter of 2011-12 – was 75,000.  In Spain alone last winter 50,000 expatriates were paid the 200-300 pound sterling allowance compared to 33,800 in 2012/13. The value of the payouts, which are worth up to £300 per household, has risen proportionately. The total paid in this benefit to expats in 2013-14 was £22m, a record figure. This compares to the £13m figure for 2011-12.  But the fact it can be claimed by those living abroad – especially in very warm climates – has been the greatest cause of controversy.
Partly in response to these criticisms, and to save money, in its 2013 spending review the Government announced that from next year (2015), payments would only be made to recipients living in countries where the average winter temperature was as low as or lower than Britain’s warmest region. This still has to be given the go ahead by MPs.

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