Friday, September 27, 2013

Anger amongst the Britons Abroad

The continuing saga of the Winter Fuel Payment. (WFP)
Let’s get it straight. 
  • There are quite a few pensioners in France and beyond, who need the money.  They went to France when the £ was strong; and when they got a reasonable return on bank and building society savings.  They came to enjoy more space in cheaper housing than was possible in the UK. They had the guts to appreciate another culture.  They might have thought that the climate would be better and generally it is so with clearer skies and longer winter days.  But they found that winter temperatures were colder, though winter may be shorter.  If they came here more than 15 years ago the WFP did not exist.  When Gordon Brown introduced this old-age benefit, they were at first excluded.   As time has passed, they find the £ has shrunk in value; interest on British savings has dwindled to almost zero; inflation has risen; taxation of income and property in France has risen.  . 
    If they wanted to change their British Bank or Building Society because the banks have bust, they couldn’t and still can’t.
Apart from the French  prices and tax inflation, the British Government is responsible for much of this. It is oblivious to the effect on Britons Abroad of their policies, and frankly is not interested in the Briton Abroad because most of us have no voice in Parliament. Most politicians feed on ‘power’. Their power comes from the votes of the people.    Even the simple ability for Britons abroad to vote was shrunk by the Blair Government from 20 years to 15 years.  But at the time few British residents in Europe took any interest in voting and in those politicians who control their finances.  They turned their eyes away, saying “I’m not interested in politics.” It is still a common theme. Misfortune has come upon them. 
The British Government knowingly or not, gives an unwitting reaction – “They are not interested. We can ignore them.” 
Result – A Briton Abroad is a Briton Ignored. 
  • The European Commission is on our side.  Without it, we would be at the mercy of an uninterested, even antagonistic British Government The EU Commission encourages Britons to be good citizens of Europe. Many British politicians do not just ignore us, they dislike us.  This attitude is encouraged  by parts of the British media which have long been anti!   
  • It was the EU Commission who forced the hand of the UK to pay the WFP to all.  Now the British Government want to cut it away again by using deceitful , dishonest fiddling with statistics.
  • Some Britons Abroad are fighting back, and have always done so, but till now have been few in number.
  • Here is two exchanges between one of us and the Civil Service in the Department of Works and Pensions.

The effect of the British Government on the Briton in Europe
The Government wriggles in trying to impose a temperature threshold on the payment of the Winter Fuel Payment to Britons in Europe, an ‘old-age’ benefit under EU law.
The Government wants our support to maintain their power and yet denies us the ability to vote for or against them after 15 years non-residence in the UK.
The Government taxes those who at one time worked in some form of Government service (such as our soldiers) and then denies them any voice.
The Government makes it difficult to move  money around British Banks by making it impossible to open a new account in the UK.
The Government achieves an exchange rate so low that  many British pensioners reliant on their savings have seen a great drop in income.

You can help.
To help us on our way to achieve some success sign the following petitions and write to certain politicians.

For voting/Representation
And to leave a comment below - It is  not possible on the official petition.
Write to the politician  Chloe Smith  Minister for Political Reform c/o....

For a proper payment of the Winter Fuel Payment
Write to a politician Steve Webb, Minister for Pensions c/o.....

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