UK Consumer News | Winter Fuel Allowance for Ex-Pats

You could get between £100 and £300 tax-free to help pay your heating bills if you were born on or before 5 July 1951. This known as a ‘Winter Fuel Payment’.

Most payments are made automatically between November and December. You should get your money by Christmas.

You should get a Winter Fuel Payment automatically if you get the State Pension or another social security benefit (not Housing Benefit, Council Tax Benefit or Child Benefit).

If you qualify but don’t get paid automatically, you’ll need to make a claim.

This particular benefit has caused a stir especially for those receiving a pension but not living in the UK.  I have heard of cases where this has been paid in error to some living abroad and the Government have asked for it back.

In a country overloaded with free-loaders and spongers, you have to ask, why is the pension so low that such one off payment is even necessary? Well we have population now where the elderly are living longer and therefore will be receiving the state pension for longer. In a country where other social benefits are paid to those out of work, unable to work or just plain old won’t work, it seems unfair to single out the pensioners to save money on.

If that’s not enough, retirees are now being told they should do charity work to earn their state pension (says £120,000-a-year peer).  Former Benefits Agency chief Lord Bichard says older people must stop being a ‘negative burden’ on the state. Pensions ‘should be linked to contributions to the community as an incentive for people to look after the “very old.”‘ Campaigners condemn the idea as ‘National Service for the over-60s’ which they claim ‘smacks of social engineering.’ His plans were also branded by angry pensioner groups as ‘National Service for the over-60s’.

Lord Bichard, 65, drew a parallel between the workshy claiming unemployment benefits and retirees drawing their pensions. He said: ‘We are now prepared to say to people who are not looking for work, if you don’t look for work you don’t get benefits.

So if you are old and you are not contributing in some way or another, maybe there is some penalty attached to that. He called for ‘imaginative’ ideas such as making old people care for the very old.

Lord Bichard added: ‘Are we using all of the incentives at our disposal to encourage older people not just to be a negative burden on the state but actually be a positive part of society?

‘It is quite possible, for example, to envisage a world where civil society is making a greater contribution to the care of the very old, and older people who are not very old could be making a useful contribution to civil society in that respect, if they were given some incentive or some recognition for doing so.’

Dot Gibson, general secretary of the National Pensioners Convention, said: ‘Those who have paid their national insurance contributions for 30 or more years are entitled to receive their state pension and there should be no attempt to put further barriers in their way. We already have one of the lowest state pensions in Europe and one in five older people in Britain live below the poverty line. Lord Bichard’s comments are also extremely divisive – trying to pitch younger people against older people– when the truth is that the real division in our society is between rich and poor. Frankly, Lord Bichard needs to think twice before making such silly and ill-informed remarks.’

‘Lord Bichard’s suggestion smacks of social engineering of a dangerous kind. He seems to be suggesting that if you decide to stop working, even once you reach the age that society determines it is reasonable to stop, civil servants should assess you and decide whether you are fit to be assigned to do work that they decide you should do.’

Professor James Sefton, of Imperial College, London, a former adviser to the Treasury, appeared to back Lord Bichard. He told the committee he could not understand why young people were not taking to the streets in protest, because they were subsidising the older generation.

Lord Bichard denies the quote that is attributed to him. Would the newspapers get it wrong? Well it would not be a first.

Pandors S Box






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