19th August 2012

The European Court of Justice has finally come up trumps. When you first start work all European countries say 'pay national insurance and we'll guarantee you benefits in your old age'. What the UK doesn't say is that benefits like the winter fuel allowance (WFP) which all UK-resident pensioners receive automatically, will not be paid to those who subsequently move elsewhere in Europe before the first payment.Well the European Court of Justice has now ruled otherwise. All UK pensioners born before July 1951 can now claim directly from the DWP. Of course, inevitable 'outrage' in the UK press who think we're all lounging on hot beaches every winter. Ian Duncan Smith, the Pensions Secretary, has said that before everyone applies, they'll have to check temperatures in other countries! Last winter here was the coldest in living memory - far colder that England. But, that's not the point.  Old-age benefits should be guaranteed in full for all contributors, wherever they subsequently live. Either the UK should pay, or the European country you move to. They can't both opt out! Annoyingly for us, the UK has ruled that in a few years all pensions will automatically rise and include all benefits for all, but not for current pensioners.  Him indoors is already sharpening his wood saw. To cut down our trees for fuel? No, to attack Ian Duncan Smith.

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