The British government recently cracked down on winter fuel payments and have managed to save £16 million so far.
New data released from the UK government shows that just over 42,000 British expats buying property and retiring overseas in the EU received winter fuel payments – down by over two-thirds compared to last year.
Around 137,845 British pensioners living in the EU received winter fuel allowance payments during the fiscal year of 2014/2015. This number was cut down drastically following a crackdown by the British government.
Elder Brits who were living abroad in sunnier locations were still receiving their annual winter fuel payments of over £200 (or £300 for those who are aged over 80) even though they were living in places where there was no need for it.
This caused the former Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith to bow that he would bring this wasteful practice in check by introducing a temperature test that would analyse the average temperatures of Europe.
If pensioners were living in an area of Europe were the average temperature was higher than the warmest area of the UK (the southwest of England) then they would have their winter fuel payments stopped. After this scheme was introduced the government has saved around £16 million as the amount of money spent on payments was reduced from £24.5 million to £8.1 million.
A general rule of thumb says that payments were stopped for people who moved to places such as Spain, France, Greece, Portugal, Malta, Cyprus and Gibraltar.
An interesting note is that pensioners living in Italy can still claim Winter Fuel Allowance. This is because the temperature test only takes into account average temperatures and the 40 degree highs of the Italian summer are offset by the bitter winters.