Fuel allowance scandal

RAW IN RONDA: Colder in the winter than you might think.

BRITISH pensioners living on the Costa del Sol who had their Winter Fuel Payment stopped by the UK government will be furious to hear that the methodology used by the Department of Work and Pensions was fundamentally flawed.

The DWP previously attempted to deflect anger over the drastic measures, which affected upwards of 100,000 British expats across the continent, by claiming that it was “overly complex” and “prohibitively expensive” to base the threshold on more advanced temperature data than simple national averages. 

It has now emerged that the DWP did in fact have access to data which would have radically changed how they defined who is entitled to the allowance which, at up to £300 (€350), can make an enormous difference over a long winter. 


The bizarre system currently in place measures the average temperature of the country in which claimants live, leading to outrageous outcomes. Spain is deemed too hot on the grounds that the average winter temperature is 5.6 degrees warmer than Britain’s warmest region, neglecting the fact that housing is simply not designed for the cold.

Meanwhile average temperatures in France include exotic Caribbean and African territories, leaving British pensioners living in the Alps in the absurd position of being considered in a place too hot for help.



  1. The DWP should try spending part of the winter living in Spain (not in a hotel). I actually live in the UK but have over the years stayed in Spain (Cost Blanca area) during winter periods and i can confirm that it is just as cold as the UK.

  2. Having lived in Spain for the past eight years I am in agreement that people who come down here for the winter should not receive the winter payment.
    While they are basking in temperatures far above the winter temperatures in the U.K. old folks there are dying from the cold because they must choose between food and warmth.
    This is not right, and their payments should be stopped to help those in England who really need it.
    How would you like it if your Mother or father died from cold while you stay here in relatively warm Spain?
    I await the slings and arrows!

  3. penny-pinching is always unfair to those most in need. so what is the Gov. going to do to rectify the situation? perhaps a factfinding mission somewhere exotic to discuss the subject.?

  4. I live in the South of France, at 300m above sea level.
    Believe me when I say it gets cold here with a NW blowing from the Atlantic. We could do without liars like IDS, who claim that paying a pensioner in Palermo but denying it to someone in Dunkirk because there a few islands in the Caribbean which have been included in the French average temperature is fair.
    It is also unlawful, but we will lose the protection of the European Court of Justice, together with the right to live in our own home when Brexit comes.

  5. “Crash” Gordon Brown’s Winter Fuel Payment, Xmas Bonus etc are divisory & should be abolished & reflected in a decent basic State Pension people have paid for.

    The recent introduction of the “new” state pension continues this policy; the pension entitlement should be unified, one and the same.

    They are expensive to administer & are merely self serving

  6. Nobody is talking about those who “come down here for the winter”. This is about ex-pats who live here. And are you saying that it doesn´t get cold here sometimes, when we need to heat our apartments? Shame on you.

  7. Mr. Peters, how wrong you are, it gets b………y cold here! just because your post code is Spain, folks think its hot all the year, everyday like August, what about when the press is barging off its hotter in the UK than on the costas……you have lived here 8 years, my family have lived here since 1982, each year has got progressively colder, we did used to swim in the pool Christmas day/new Years day, but those days are gone now, it is colder……Brits deserve their rights, they have paid into the system, many longer than we have, so maybe you would like the money going to immigrants saying they are cold rather than a English subject!

  8. Mr Peters you are so wrong, my family have lived here since 1982, it has got progressively colder over the years, I can recall we used to swim in the pool at Christmas and New Year.
    The comment in the press is correct our homes here are not suited to cold weather, double glazing, fitted carpets etc., but just because you change your address to Spain, you still deserve your rights to what you paid into the system over the years, before coming here, my mother is 92, lives here with me, she gets very, very cold indeed, whether it be here or back in the UK at 92 she would still be cold due to age, illness, post codes do not change cold weather!

  9. The new state pension is a joke, loads if people won’t get it if they have contracted out and all existing pensioners won’t get it and they can’t get pension credit to top up their pensions in other eu countries, we are being penalized for having the cheek to leave. They manage to pay the state pension out here so why not the winter fuel allowance once a year. Disgraceful.

  10. Hilary – So you would spend this money on various things while old folks are dying of the cold in Britain? It may get a little cold here in winter but it is NOTHING like the freezing cold people get in England week after week, often well down in the minus with snow and ice everywhere.
    You should be ashamed of your attitude. Perhaps you should visit some of these old folk who have to spend all day in bed just to keep warm, and maybe have only one meal a day because of the high prices they pay for heating.

  11. That is rubbish. Our rooms are 14 degrees without heating. We have to go out to get warm and that costs money we don’t have. Ok if you’re south facing but we’re not. A lot of us sit with blankets round us on top of track suits and gloves. We can’t afford to have hot air con on or electric heaters. Electricity here is not cheap. Our bathrooms are really cold also. It can and does drop down to 1 degree in the winter and it starts in October and runs to April. There are very bad winds also. Our garden furniture has to be tied down in the winter. There are your slings and arrows.

  12. It does get cold here in the winter also soaring temperatures during the summer and people die of heat strokes therefore air conditioning is essential, and have to bear the electricity cost which is an expensive item. Also bear in mind there are no other hand outs for the needy in Spain and certainly nothing else from U.K. ie grants for this and grants for that like is to be had for the needy in the U.K. Anyone would think we are criminals living in Europe by the way we are being treated by the Government and some peoples’ attitude towards us.

  13. Sad to say I think Mr. Peters has bitten off more than he can chew on this point, you can argue the point about “old folks” till the cows come home, but it does drop to below freezing point here, and with the well known wind chill blowing from the Sierras makes it even colder.
    As for his comment about “spending money on other things” we all do not live the Marbella A-lists life style, most of the comments here have been made by pensioners, me included – so I think we ALL do know what we are talking about, having to budget our purses to our needs.

  14. Hilary – No matter what you say about the cold where you live, you can STILL afford to spend the winters in Spain. Many of the old age pensioners in Britain can only dream of such things.

  15. Gilly – Maybe you should have taken the time to buy a house in a more suitable place where it is not so cold in winter.
    Either way you can still afford to spend the winters in Spain, which many of our needy pensioners cannot.

  16. I don’t have patience with such silly remarks. Where are you suggesting the Caribbean ??? I live here not spend the winters here and with 45/48 degrees in the three summer months we also have to pay for air con. I am a needy pensioner. We only have our stare pensions so am not sure what you mean by that remark. Anyone who has bothered to work all their lives like I have for 39 years can do the same as we have. It’s not down to luck it’s hard work for many years by both of us and we don’t have savings. Please don’t bother to reply. The Brits all resent anyone has has the guts to get up and do it and then get jealous because we have warm weather. The houses are very cold and are built with hollow bricks and central heating is expensive here and the heat just goes out of the walls. You are making remarks about things you know nothing about.

  17. Trouble is people are jealous think because you live in Spain or other so called warmer climes ever thing is easy.
    Many people move for their health but I know those who have moved back because the winters are too cold and with no central heating as in UK just too expensive. Houses here are not built for the cold fortunately for me we built our own house and insisted in double cavity and damp proofing even so Granada is cold in the winter. I am a South Lincolnshire girl so am used to the cold North Sea winds. Please don’t judge what you don’t know about.

  18. On the contrary Gilly, I know exactly what I am talking about. I have the same problems as you with the winter but I still don’t claim my winter allowance because I know there are people in England who need the money JUST TO STAY ALIVE..
    I too have worked all my life and I know too well how the houses are built. My apartment is also cold in the winter but I would not claim the allowance if it means people in more need of it are dying!
    If you complain about Spain so much why don’t you move back to England, there at least you will be entitled to the winter allowance.

  19. This is my last comment on this issue for Mr. Peters, I am a long standing resident of Spain, now taking care of my old mum (aged 92), my husband is Spanish, I think your attitude is dreadful – you seem to have upset everyone who is making a valid point on this whole issue, I notice another person has stated we do NOT come down for a few months costa then run back to the UK, all persons commenting here are residents, not tourists, having extended stays.

  20. The winter payment, is nothing, the ones of us who move to Costa blanca, do so for the winter climate, I’m disabled and that is the reason I came, but the NHS rules on early retirement and removing the entitlement of medical access in Spain is cruel after my 43years of tax and NI payments, causing me to get private or Spanish health insurance,

  21. I don’t recall complaining about Spain. I was merely stating the facts. This is a comment that is always resorted to when anyone tries to talk about Spain. I don’t understand your comment just to stay alive. They have the same pension as everyone else. Maybe when we are in our 70’s or 80’s we will need more heat but sometimes that generation just won’t spend it even if they have money in the bank. I have seen it many times. Sorry but if you don’t want your fuel allowance that’s up to you but I’m sure many rich people still take it and you’ s paid for it. It makes up for the crappy pension the uk pays us which us one the worst in Europe. If they paid a decent pension we wouldn’t need these extras. The people in the uk get all the extra benefits that we don’t get. Pension credit, tv licenses, bus passes, carers, housing benefit, social services the list goes on. It’s not perfect here and not easy to deal with everything but the pensioners back in the U.K. are still better off than us out here.

  22. There appears to be a lot of complaining but little evidence of action.

    Have you researched the legislation. Remember under EU legislation and European Court of Justice rulings this action by the UK government is illegal. It bodes badly for our position under Brexit where we stand to lose our rights, to live in our own home, to get subsidised healthcare, to be paid the same state pension as UK residents.

    Have you written to your UK MP?

    Have you written to your MEP?

    Have you petitioned the UK Parliament?

    Have you petitioned the EU Parliament.

    Those who don’t ask don’t get.

  23. I agree 100% with you Roy and your comments. if you want the winter fuel payment live in the UK – not expect to get it to blow on cheap San Miguel !!

  24. What an utterly ridiculous statement. That money used to pay for two months electricity in the winter. Now.we cannot afford to have heating on as much. As for blowing it on San Miguel. San Miguel is actually a Mexican beer and not many Brits who live here drink it. Thy buy the proper Spanish beer. It’s only the holiday makers who only know how to ask for a beer who drink that. We can’t afford to go out that much so please don’t show jealousy on here. You read too many tabloids. Life is not perfect here. It’s not perfect anyway but at least the Spanish are very tolerant of foreigners which is more than a lot or the r****t Brits are !!

  25. I have just received mine and my wife’s peak nation statements, though I’m 60 and have another 6years to go, I and my wife will get whatever the current pension and a top up when I was contracted in, and the time I did contract out I have 50k money in my private fund, do no money lost, I di opt out then in due to financial advisers advice, but that’s what we all should have!

  26. You must have a very small mind we are not all pissheads and deserve the right to have a choice to do what we like with this payment.which is rightfully ours. If a stance is not made now on this we will lose a lot more when Brexit comes into force.believe me.

  27. Well Jon that’s very nice for you that you had 50k. Most o’s can only dream of that and we have barely any savings left at all now after 6 years of low sterling rates and virtually nil inretest rates!!!

  28. Spot on Gilly S. At least we should be given the choice to refuse. The Brexiteers have done their bit to pull the rug from under our feet also. But life goes on for a few more years (I hope)

  29. If you contracted out you would have a fund as well so don’t come the victim! The only reason you would not have a fund is if you did. Not work and pay any NI, if you have any spence you will have your private pension fund working for you, though by the way you are talking, you probibly don’t know what you money is doing, and therefore have no control of the money your fund is making, the rates will hit us all, so why worry, the cost of living in Spain is far cheaper than the Uk, France, Germany, Italy, maybe not the eastern block countries, but if this is another political argument chat, on Brexit or not, I did not vote for it, but get use to it, it’s coming, GET READY!

  30. I don’t hear any whinging when you are enjoying the millionaire lifestyle in the sun with bargain booze and cheap food – never happy the ex-pats !! If you don’t like it – go back to the UK.
    Look – either wise up or come back to the UK – pay your dues and then get the right to receive a winter fuel payment !!!

  31. Yes I had a fund which pays out 76£ every quarter!!! How do you know what the cost of living is here. If you don’t live here then don’t comment on things you know nothing about. Omg we’ve started on about bloody brex shit. ThIs is about winter fuel allowance. I have enough rude and nasty comments on facebook from bloody leavers so don’t bring it up here. Ain’t gonna happen anyway hehehe

  32. I think you have managed to insult all the expats here. Millionaire lifestyle !! What planet are you on. We live off two state pensions and a small contracted out pension . Beyond belief and showing all the signs if classic jealousy. We paid tax and nationa insurance for 39 years full time work. Can you say the same ? We have more than paid our dit’s and we have every right to move where we want to. So nasty!!

  33. Jon, Us long retired folks after working and paying our taxes since the age of fifteen and now nearly in our eighties had great confidence in our employers in that time and government pension scheme. But having lost out to the Maxwells another dodgy insurance advisor lost me £10,000 on a Provident Mutual pension due to them selling to another company which in turn sold to Direct line by this time £10,000 wiped off my policy so don’t prattle on about something you would not even know about ie pensions and effect on the older generation.


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