Friends, please read the following piece. It is a letter composed by Roger Boaden and sent to Iain Duncan Smith.
It is suggested that you add YOUR ADDRESS, telephone numbers etc at the top – alter the date of sending, delete or totally change the paragraph in italics, then print it in colour and then put it in an envelope with the address of IDS and place a Euro Union rate stamp on it and post it.
OR you can write your own letter entirely (especially if you live outside France and Spain – Cyprus residents will need to compose something different – The support of residents elsewhere is most welcome) but please make sure the map is included!
If it is too difficult to send by letter post then send it by email to email@example.com – and as the subject put –
‘for the personal attention of Iain Duncan Smith’.
Otherwise to his personal parliamentary secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org
A Freedom Of Information Request has been asked of the DWP concerning the objective for the suspension of the WFP and the argument put forward for achieving that objective in this manner. When a reply to this FoI is received it will be circulated.
YOUR CONTACT DETAILS xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx Téléphone: 00 xx (0)x xx xx xx xx e-mail : email@example.com
For the personal attention of The Rt. Hon. Iain Duncan Smith MP Department for Work & Pensions, Caxton House, Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NA Grande Bretagne
xx February 2016
Dear Sir . .
Since you took your decision to penalise British Expat Pensioners living in the so-called ‘hot’ countries, I do not imagine you have allowed yourself a moment’s thought about the actual conditions we live with day-by-day. Below is a weather map forecasting the temperatures for the seven-day period currently being experienced.
You will see this map shows large parts of France, most of Spain, and parts of Portugal – three of your ‘hot’ countries – being a great deal colder than the whole of the United Kingdom, and for that matter, all of Ireland and most of Italy as well.
You said you wanted to stop the ‘obscene waste of taxpayers’ money’ of providing the Winter Fuel Payment for British Pensioners, and deliberately ‘used’ the Daily Mail campaign against real ‘Benefit Cheats’, to paint us all in the same mould. Just in case you still harbour this illusion, here are a few facts.
(Replace this part in italics and coloured GREEN) . . .
This is our fourteenth winter living in this part of France. We switched on our central heating for the first time on 23rd September 2015, and apart from five days, the heating has been needed every day since. 147 days when we needed to heat our home, during which time we have used 1,402 litres of oil, and half of our stock of wood. This has been a relatively mild winter compared to others we have experienced, but with daily temperatures rarely hitting double figures since Christmas, we expect to continue needing heat every day for the coming 106 days, at least.
We installed a completely new and well-insulated roof, and replaced all seventeen windows and three doors with double-glazed units, and so have taken every opportunity to protect ourselves. However, with outside temperatures regularly falling below the 8°C threshold, which Public Health England consider poses an increased risk of death for elderly people, we have recognised what we needed to do to help ourselves.
We are acutely aware there are a number of British Pensioners, particularly widows living alone, who have really suffered as a result of your decision to pursue the so-called ‘Temperature Test Policy’. In the end, we have to ask, why in God’s name did you do it? The things you said; the words you used; bear absolutely no relation to the degree of suffering you have imposed on some who had done nothing to deserve such treatment. I really wish you would explain to me why it was you took the action you did, and why you used such ferocious language directed at we Expats.
The Winter Fuel Payment as a universal benefit is well past its use by date. It should be scrapped, and replaced with a benefit which provides substantial support for all British Pensioners who fall into fuel poverty, wherever they live, be it Bristol, Blarney, Basel, Bordeaux, Barcelona or Braga. We have to ask how many of your colleagues in the House of Commons on reaching the State Pension Age refuse this automatic benefit, which they most definitely do not need? For example, what will you do when you reach the SPA in three and a half years?
One thought on “The discontinuation of the Winter Fuel payment.”
Extract from my letter sent to the Prime Minister on 23.02.15
In recent times, the most welcome return for my 45 years continuous payment of national insurance contributions has been the Winter Fuel Allowance, all of which I spend on logs for my wood burner, which I light after lunch as I cannot afford to keep it burning all day.
I hear you are stopping this allowance for UK pensioners who live in hot countries outside the UK. I agree wholeheartedly with this policy for residents in hot climates but fail to understand why it applies to the whole of France. Though this winter has been milder, daytime temperatures barely reach higher than 4 degrees centigrade and often fall below zero during the night. There may be a slight variation on the Mediterranean coastline, but here in central France, temperatures mirror the average across the UK. I recently discovered that you have included French Overseas Territories, e.g. Guadeloupe, Réunion and Martinique amongst others in your assessment. Did you not study geography at Heatherdown, Eton and Brasenose? These islands sit a few degrees longitude above and below the equator with mean winter temperatures between 26 and 30 degrees centigrade. How can your government justify including these territories in their determination of mean temperatures on mainland France?
I find it not only outrageous but also an affront to all pensioners’ intelligence for you to expect us to accept such an idiotic, biased and contrived calculation. I also consider it inappropriate that my parents’ and my NI contributions over many years are now funding recent immigrants whilst literally leaving me ‘out in the cold’! I understand the immigration issue and the UK’s commitment to the freedom of movement and labour, but first get your priorities right when dealing with the deficit.
I would be extremely grateful to receive a reply that can offer a reasonable explanation as to why you consider France to be a hot country during the winter period. People come here to ski, for goodness sake!
I received a reply stating it would be passed to the DWP!
Here is an extract from a further letter I sent:
I only feel able to thank you for the fact that I have received a reply to my letter dated 23rd February 2015.
Beyond that, I find it very discourteous that you cannot add a proper name and its accompanying signature. You must also think I am stupid to believe that passing my letter to the DWP will resolve or even explain the issue I have highlighted. That act in itself is inept. Surely, you know that your coalition government determines policy; the DWP merely carries out policies as the government’s salaried servant.
In your reply, there is no attempt whatsoever to justify the coalition’s proposal to terminate the Winter Fuel Allowance top-up to UK pensioners living in France. Indeed, you have chosen to bury my demand for an honest explanation in the bureaucratic jungle of what purports to be the UK government.
After other meaningless communication, I gave up.