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Friday, January 12, 2007

Mediterranean blues

This post from Dizzy has left me open-mouthed. I certainly did not know that ex-Pats living in the Mediterranean were still entitled to winter fuel payments.

Dizzy reports that according to figures from the DWP Minister, James Purnell, in 2005/06, his Department paid £4,215,000 in Winter Fuel Payments to claimants in Greece, Spain, Italy, Malta, Cyprus and Portugal.

The view of one of his commenters that this is a loophole that needs to be closed is absolutely right.
Frankly that would be cruel - these are old age pensioners who find cold winters hard to take, the UK has more deaths of old age pensioners from cold per capita than much colder countries like Sweden. “Last year 24,650 older people died as a result of cold related illnesses.” – source Age Concern – see, http://www.ageconcern.org.uk/.

Old age pensioners also feel excessive heat more than healthy young people, so they need to spend more on air conditioning in a hot climate - the winter fuel payments can help offset that cost. People with narrow mind sets forget that it is HARD TO BE OLD. British old age pensioners living outside the UK are often not well off; they are often there to be closer to their children and need help from their children with shopping etc.

I marvel sometimes at the way the way my fellow countrymen and women sometimes vilify old people to the extent that the little they get from the state should be taken away from them. It is a fact that UK old age pensioners don’t claim anywhere near what they are entitled to. So let’s take from them the little that they do in fact claim. What a disgusting way to treat Brits at the end of their hard working lives who gave their all, the generation who sacrificed themselves for their children’s sake.

How selfish we are to try and take the little that they have, they have no ability to earn money now that they are old and dependent.
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