Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Appalling Government!

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Below is the ABSOLUTELY appalling Government response to a fairly put petition by the originator, Norman Walker. His request was JUST. I myself know of an elderly lady who is in hardship. The WFP did not exist when she emigrated to France to live with her daughter. The Government’s response is mean and penny pinching; it displays a shallowness of intellect; a disregard for the poor and needy; a lack of concern for the British citizen; it displays a lack of understanding about the concept of Europe; it displays a lack of statesmanship
; it is disgraceful.
The number of people affected is small, none can be younger than 75, and the number will not increase. And note, few of the disaffected will have the vote! [The blog site expands on the issue at length.]
What also, I ask, is the attitude of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats to this response?

Thursday 4 June 2009
Fairfuelhelp - epetition response
We received a petition asking:
“We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to pay the Winter Fuel Allowance to UK pensioners in EU countries who left UK before 1998.”
Details of Petition:
“Those of us who left UK before the allowance started are currently excluded. This is arbitrary and unfair. Why does a pensioner who left in 1998 (or since) get it but one who left in 1997 (or before) not get it? To favour more recent expatriates in this way is illogical and discriminatory. Please correct this and help us in our present difficulties as you are endeavouring so hard to do for many other Britich citizens affected by the economic recession. And PLEASE HELP US NOW our need is URGENT. (See my letter to you of 26 December 2008 - as yet unacknowledged and unanswered).”
• Read the petition
• Petitions homepage
Read the Government’s response
Winter Fuel Payments were introduced in the winter of 1997/98 to give older people in Great Britain reassurance that they can afford to turn up their heating in the winter months without worrying about the cost. Older people are targeted because they are particularly vulnerable to the effects of cold weather in the winter months. The Winter Fuel Payment was introduced as a measure, amongst others, that would help deliver the Government’s target of eradicating fuel poverty, as far as reasonably practicable, in vulnerable households by 2010 in England. Similar targets exist in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
To qualify for a payment a person has to be aged 60 or over and ordinarily resident in Great Britain or Northern Ireland during the qualifying week. The qualifying week for Winter Fuel Payments is set in legislation as the week commencing from the third Monday in September. For winter 2008/09 the qualifying week was 15th-21st September 2008.
In July 2002 the Winter Fuel Payment Scheme was extended to people residing outside the UK but within the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who had previously qualified for a payment in the UK. This followed discussions with the European Commission when the Government agreed that the payments were covered by the Regulation (EEC) 1408/71, which provides for some social security benefits to continue to be paid in another EEA country. This regulation does not enable a person to become entitled to a Winter Fuel Payment, or any other benefit, for the first time after leaving the UK.
People will not be able to get a Winter Fuel Payment in another EEA country if they left the UK before 5 January 1998. This is because they will have left before the scheme began and will not have qualified for a payment.
The Winter Fuel Payment was designed primarily to help people living in the United Kingdom. The Government is content that its approach to paying Winter Fuel Payments to people living in the EEA is both reasonable and lawful.

1 comment:

  1. I am one who does not qualify for the WFP as I came to France before the 1998 date. I am nearly 84, with serious health respiratory and heart problems which has led to me being hospitalised 3 times in the last 18 months. I am on oxygen. I have younger and fitter neighbours who get this allowance.
    I think it disgusting that the government take such a penny pinching line. The numbers of those like me will soon decline. It is surely time they made a gesture to help ease our final years by treating everone the same.