Whilst the British Government ‘fiddles’ with a variety of ideas to circumnavigate the European Court Ruling against them for discrimination over Winter Fuel Allowances for Expat Pensioners - all of Europe ‘burns’ with British Citizens anger over a barrage of almost daily threats to their very existence.

The British Government, still smarting from its ruling from the European Court seems hell-bent on creating as much fear and confusion for the elderly as possible if they live outside of the UK.

In respect of the Winter Fuel Allowance, they have been caught with their proverbial pants down using ‘dodgy data’ to support their reasoning for comparing the average winter temperatures of whole countries like France and Spain with just a part of the UK.

In a letter composed by Steve Webb MP, Minister of State for Pensions he says “Although the temperature criterion will be set by reference to the warmest region of the UK, entitlement in the EEA will be based on the temperature of the whole country, not regions of countries. This is because it would be unnecessarily complex and costly to administer the Winter Fuel Payment scheme on a regional basis within the EEA, so a simple rule has been proposed, based on the average winter air temperature for a country”.

What Mr Webb’s letter did not mention was the fact that in the case of France for example their average temperature was derived from including the five hot French overseas departments of : -

The Islands of Reunion and Mayotte in the Indian Ocean, French Guiana in South America, The Caribbean Islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique.

Similarly with Spain, they included Spanish held islands/regions and nobody has come clean as to whether all the 34 regions like Balearic Islands, Canary Islands (off the West Coast of Africa), and islands off the coast of North Africa been included to similarly increase the average temperature.

The Government will not consider the very cold areas of France and Spain in winter because they know they would lose the argument but they were very quick to rule Italy as being a cold country! They say what they are doing will save money but the European court will not accept ‘cost’ as an excuse for repeated discrimination.

And so the compilation of ‘Dodgy Data’ continues until the Government will hopefully be ruled out of order once more by the European Court.

Meanwhile research carried out by Dr J Healy of the University College of Dublin over a 10 year period shows that the premature mortality rate of Spain averages 21% (19,000 excess winter deaths annually) on par with Ireland also 21%.

The UK on the other hand has an average of 18% (in real terms 16.66% lower than Spain!).  The overall percentage for the UK is made up of England with 19%, Wales 17%, Northern Ireland 17%, and Scotland 16%.

In his report the good Doctor Healy concludes that in the past, Southern Europe has been overlooked when considering seasonal variations in mortality but says “This may be attributable to the perception that such countries are not affected be excess winter deaths because of their mild winter climates.”

He further states “This paper shows that such a perception is highly mistaken”.

 British Government please take note!

This Government should also note that Italy the country singled out by them for favour has a winter premature mortality rate of just 16% compared to the UK’s 18% and is 24% lower than Spain!

Meanwhile back in England, no less than 340 MPs have claimed a total of 200,000 pounds for energy bills from their second homes for the year, off the taxpayer. Big salaries, large but dubious expense accounts and that is still not enough for the greediest of the greedy. One MP claimed over 5,800 pounds for one year enough to fund 29 expat pensioners with Winter Fuel Allowance!

At the very least these MPs should show some restraint and respect for the elderly who will die in significant numbers this winter because they cannot afford to keep warm.

Cameron declares glibly, that he does not have a spare 500 million to address the wrongs done to expat Brits all over the world but gives India 280 million which has enabled it to spend 45 million on a Mars visitation rocket and enough to spare for another 6 similar trips. British hopes of any independent space adventure died in the late 50´s with the cancellation of “Blue Streak” and “Black Night” rocket projects.

Come the next election Cameron should be prepared to see great swathes of previously declared expat Conservative voters who currently can vote, desert him and his party  through their disgust at his insensitivity in these matters.

Author: Clive Walley in Spain.



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David Rosemont | Reply 19.11.2013 09:00

Very well put

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Latest comments

11.09 | 19:03

Thank you for your opinion. However, the UK is far from being oppressed by the EU. We are one of the leaders not followers.

18.06 | 14:34

What a load of rubbish, who wants to be controlled by any devil ,the English have proved over history that they will not be oppressed

18.01 | 13:35

Dear Kathleen, Thank you for visiting the website and posting your comment in support of our cause. Please, if you can find time, write to your UK MP. Thanks

18.01 | 13:20

This proposal is in my opinion a clear breach of EU law.

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