28th July 2013

Current summer temperature in Gaillac may read over 30C, but British pensioners here are still out in the cold. I'm talking winter fuel payments.  Despite being encouraged to 'move freely within the EU', the UK government, to save money, made the crass decision that some EU countries, like France, had winter temperatures too high, whilst others, like Italy, did not.  This means that British expats in France will soon not be eligible to receive the benefit, even though winter temperatures last year reached -20C in places.  Is it too difficult to understand that, although it's warmer in summer, the winters are way way lower than the UK.? Fundamentally, this just goes to prove my point.  When you pay into a welfare scheme for the whole of your working life, shouldn't the eventual pay-out act like an insurance scheme - guaranteeing to pay out wherever you are and whatever the circumstances? What actually happens is that your contributions don't go into your future pot, but pay welfare claimants at that time.  Huh. Governments should not be able to move the goalposts whenever they see fit. Makes my blood boil - it'll need to if we're to keep warm this winter.

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