Saturday, August 20, 2016

Letter to the Cabinet Office

To the Cabinet Office, with copies to the various Boundary Commission bodies, and certain other concerned politicians etc.
I write as the administrator of the Pensioners Debout! site, and even more as an active supporter of the campaign and of the campaign for Expat Citizens Rights in the EU.
Further I have frequent communication with Harry Shindler, the 95 year old campaigner for Political Representation for the British citizens abroad.
Harry draws attention to the words of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.
Article 21 (i)
1. Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country, directly or through freely chosen representatives. 
The British Government is a signatory to that Declaration.
Yet the British Government refuses to bring forward a long promised Bill present in the last Election Manifesto for 'Votes-for- Life'.
In contrast France and Italy have long understood the need to recognise the value and the need to recognise the Citizen Abroad. They have constituency ‘deputies’ or assembly members to represent them at a National level. 
Britain cuts off our representation after 15 years.
When I first retired to France at the age of 69 (I am now 84) I had the chance to vote for up to 20 years. That was cut dead by the Blair Government without any reference to my opinion  – thus taking away quite arbitrarily my Right to vote, notably important in the Referendum–
The Citizen abroad has huge ties to the United Kingdom – Socially (family), Culturally and Financially.  I and my wife are in all three ways so linked, that the current Brexit approach could seriously harm our way of life.

But these are incidental to the urgent need to be represented in our National Government – The Government of the Nation. The Nation is the assemblage of Citizens, wherever they live.  The Government has responsibility for all citizens,  and should have a sensitivity towards them, as the expatriate should have  towards the Government. Currently this dialogue and mutual interest is severed.
That severance can only be healed by creating overseas constituencies.
Understand the following points.
1.  The Overseas Citizens have strong links with Britain.
2.  The Overseas Citizens  are often immensely proud of their British roots.
3.  The Overseas Citizens have little interest in the minutiae of management of any on-shore constituency, but they most surely often have an interest in the standing and activities of Britain in the World, and the particular part that they themselves play in these.
4.  The existing MPs, conscious of their own parochial interests  are reluctant to extend the franchise of their  localised constituency to overseas voters. They would probably vote down a simple extension of the principle of Votes-for-Life.
5.  The Overseas Citizens have various  problems which relate to British Government deliberations – pensions – treaty arrangements  affecting .. work permits.. investment/savings opportunities.. bank accounts … cross border movements.., for example. 
6.  At the last General Election & Referendum  more than 250,000 Citizens abroad registered to Vote. Remember many including myself and my wife were prevented from voting.

I am not here suggesting that at this time one proposes as many overseas constituencies as has France.  But one could start with TWO minimum, one for Europe and one for the rest of the World.  As the years pass, and the notion becomes accepted as normal, then the number could increase.
At this time one detects a  resentment on the part of many expatriates of all ages. towards the British Government   Many would raise the two fingers to it. That attitude is picked up by our foreign neighbours.  By fulfilling the promise to grant the vote-for-life in the manner proposed here, this could be turned about, so that the expatriate takes a pride in their Government.
Yours respectfully,

Monday, May 23, 2016

Europe since 1945

Why give up our voice, influence and opt for an uncertain future? I shall vote IN on 23rd June

I copy this here because I can remember everything which Grahame White describes.

By Geoffrey White a member of one of the “SY2E – Remain in the EU” groups.
I grew up in a time of post-war austerity. My country, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, was broke and virtually in ruins. Germans were still “the enemy” in children’s games. Bomb sites and abandoned air-raid shelters were our playgrounds. Nine years after the war ended butter, meat and sugar were still rationed. One couldn’t buy sweets without coupons issued by the government.
Portugal and Spain were fascist dictatorships. In Spain unauthorised gatherings of more than 3 people were illegal. A military junta later seized power in Greece.
Half of Europe was sealed off behind the Iron Curtain. I remember lying in bed at night, in my parents home, and hearing the roar of American warplanes flying overhead on their Cold War missions. We were told that, if the Russians unleashed their missiles, we would get 4 minutes’ warning of Armageddon.
In Britain our currency was weak. We had exchange controls. Travellers were allowed to take only £25 sterling out of the country plus a limited amount in foreign currency. On return, any left over had to be sold back to an authorised trader. The details were entered in one’s passport. (See photo.)
The UK still had the death penalty despite some obvious and irreversible miscarriages of justice. In France they still executed condemned prisoners by cutting their heads off. In Spain they used strangulation.
The press and the BBC, (there was only the BBC), were not free from government interference and books, films and plays were censored. Women were paid less than men for equivalent work and landlords could turn away black and Irish people with impunity. For private acts of “gross indecency” gay men were sent to prison.
During the 1950s, six similarly devastated European countries were determined that the catastrophe of war between them should never be repeated. They decided to work towards creating a single European economy. The result was never “just a trading agreement” as some detractors now suggest. The Treaty of Rome, signed in 1957, provided for free movement of goods, services, people and capital, with the stated aim of “closer relations between the States”.
The UK was invited to participate from the outset, but Prime Minister Attlee rather scornfully declined, thus missing the opportunity to influence the future development of Europe. However, by 1961 it had become obvious that the economies of “the Six”, (France, West Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg), were growing faster than ours, so we applied to join. It took 9 years of negotiations, (and 2 vetoes), before terms were agreed. The United Kingdom officially joined the European Communities on 1st January 1973.
In the 1980s many of our skilled workers took advantage of the free movement of people and migrated to West Germany, whose economy had already overtaken ours. These British ” migrants” were the inspiration for a popular television series, “Auf Wiedersehen, Pet”.
Since 1945 there have been wars in Europe, but none between countries that were members of the European Union. Despite global economic storms, the EU’s citizens in 28 independent countries enjoy greater prosperity and greater freedom of movement, freedom from discrimination, freedom from conflict, freedom to trade across borders and freedom of expression than at any time in history.
So far no country has ever applied to leave the EU. There have always been candidates to join but to succeed they must have democracy, the rule of law, a market economy and guarantees for the protection of minorities and human rights. They also need the support of ALL existing members, including us, without which they cannot join.
In my opinion it would be a shame if Britain were to turn its back on Europe, give up its voice and influence, and opt for an uncertain future. So…I shall vote IN on 23rd June.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.

Five Tales of a possible Future – after Brexit.
All these conjectural tales are based on knowledge of real people and events. 
Plainly, one cannot ask people of their experiences of the future.
 The composition, the names of people and their locations are entirely fictional.
Many people have not the information at hand to imagine what the future may hold. These tales are written to bring into focus what is known about the EU regulations and what the effects of their end might entail. The Tales cover five different age groups and backgrounds.
1. The small entrepreneur who took advantage of the EU freedom of movement.
2. The young student.
3. The mature professional
4. A young retired but active couple.
5. Two very elderly and very ordinary single women.

ONE - YEAR 2031 Bill Jarrold is a 60 year old man British born in Norwich. His parents were tenants of a small farm but have retired within the last few years and are feeling the affects of age.
Their son lives in Ginsac and married a French girl 28 years earlier.  In 2002 Bill had come over to France to set up a plumbing business1.  A fair number of British people live around Ginsac and he saw that it could be a thriving business, firstly with the Brits but hopefully also with the French people.  He knew he could undercut the French competitors by buying stock from the UK.  As time went by his trade expanded and he established a shop called ‘Kitchens-pour-tous’.   The ‘half English’ added a ‘cachet’ for the French.  He, and his wife Angeline did well, his two children grew up bilingual.  His own French, aided by his wife  became practically perfect.
Then in 2018 Brexit occurred – Nothing changed, he was well assimilated into the community.  But as the next five years passed, British clients became fewer2.  That was not much of a problem.  But the French government imposed an import duty3 on the materials he previously imported from the UK.  The paper work to deal with this increased and became an irritation but no great problem. He had to hike his prices but his French clients were not too disturbed. His work was top-notch.
But he became worried about his parents. “Why don’t you come and live near us?” -- “That’s lovely Bill. We will try to do that.”  - They got their visas4 from the French border check and visited Bill and Angeline and their two daughters, At the Mairie they completed forms for Cartes de Séjour 5. Later a letter arrived from the Mairie, saying in French “We regret that your request for residency cards has been refused because you do not have enough funds. And also we need to know that you will have health insurances.”
Notes –
1. Bill could do this because of ‘EU Freedom of Movement’.
2. Elderly British Citizens are tending to go ‘home’ or die and fewer arrive.
3. After Brexit, Governments can impose any rules they like. Free trade arrangements will not be in place.
4. Visas could be imposed. The EU could introduce tighter external border controls administered by each border State. They would probably be of little concern for UK citizens
5.  One has to demonstrate that one would not be a burden on the French State.

TWO - YEAR 2028  Julie Spinks is a lecturer in marine biology at the Brittany college of Marine Biology at Brest.  She was born in Hailsham. When she was eighteen in 2008 she went to study at the university at Exeter. She learned that she could study on a European Erasmus scholarship at Marseille.  She is a very intelligent girl and took advantage of that chance and not only got a high degree and doctorate but also became fluent in French.  So she got the job of her dreams. 
Her cousin Susan is ten years younger than her. The two families were very close because their mothers are sisters and they went on holidays together to Brittany.  Susan idolised her cousin and said ‘I am going to that as well!” .  When Susan was of an age to go to University in 2018,  the Brexit had happened.  She could no longer apply for an Erasmus scholarship because she was no longer a European Citizen.

Erasmus grants are available to young Europeans citizens to obtain degrees at universities in al EU States.  The scheme has recently been extended  by 16 million euros per year. Students can receive 300 euros a month  to study abroad.

THREE - YEAR 2019  Sheila Crabb is a professional international lawyer.  She began her career after qualifying in law in London by going to work for an international team in Bruges, Belgium.  That being close to the Centre of activities in the European Union she was attracted to working for  the European Centre in Brussels.   She became skilled in many aspects of Euro law.  She moved out to work in Trier, a vigorous German City just close to the Luxembourg border.  She acquired clients in Germany, Belgium and France, for by this time she was trilingual.  Brexit came.  Her professional status fell away, because she was not permitted to function in the European Courts as her qualification  was no longer that of a European State.

EU Directive 98/5/EC enables qualified  solicitors to work in any EU State.
There are similar opportunities for dentists, teachers and other professionals

FOUR - YEAR 2022 Roland Giles  likes the clothes he buys from John Lewis.  He lives in Spain a few kilometres in from Valencia on the Coast.  In England he worked in John Lewis’s clothing department.  He moved to Spain on retirement in 1999, so has been there for 23 years.   Every so often he places an order for some clothing.  His wife also used to buy ‘stuff’ from Britain by mail order, such as pots and pans from a Lake District supplier when they changed their cooker to an ‘induction’ type.  They paid by their credit card.  After the Brexit vote in 2016, nothing much changed.  Then the UK began re-negotiations with various EU States on commercial activities.  There followed much argument reported in the popular English papers in Spain and the other countries.  Spain and France first, protecting their own industries, imposed duties on goods imported from abroad1.  Then British shops increased the  restriction on the use of credit card payments from within the EU2. The goods increased in price.  The Spanish Government then, feeling a need to increase the supply of funds to their treasury, imposed an extra tax1 on properties belonging to foreigners.
1 After Brexit any State can impose any taxes where they will.
2. As it is now, some British companies refuse payment on Credit Cards where the registered address is outside the UK.  Such restrictions appear to flout EU existing regulations  and need correction. After Brexit, there is no possibility of the freedom of movement of services being fully implemented.

FIVE - YEAR 2024 Mary Ellis was born in 1936 Wanstead, London.  She never married. Her working life was spent as a typist. She is now nearing ninety years old and lives in Normandy.  She moved when she was sixty two with her dear friend Rosemary (aged 56) in 1998.  She and Rosemary felt they could enjoy their retirement years in more comfort than in the UK.  They bought a house together for far less than they could afford in the UK.  Their two pensions could give them a reasonable standard of living. Rosemary had retired early because she had phlebitis which made walking difficult.  Their health care costs were partly covered by the British Government through the EU agreements. Not that they fully understood that at the time.  They knew that others had retired to France and it seemed alright for others, so it ought to be O.K. for them. The Brexit vote came in 2016.  Nothing much changed. They were aware of the fuss on the BBC TV and radio, easily received in Normandy.  Their pensions arrived on time, they received the Winter Fuel Payment and Rosemary had, she thought, her Disability Living Allowance.  They had had a worry when for a time Rosemary was not granted the Disability Allowance1, and were grateful when through the protestations of other younger Britons abroad, it was restored.  They had a shock in 2015 when the Winter Fuel allowance1 (as they called it) stopped.  After Brexit all such benefits stopped across the EU.  They still are worried about their State pensions.  The Conservatives were considering bringing in a Statutory Instrument to limit the annual increases.2 The current Labour Government since 2020 is still discussing arrangements with the EU States.  Trouble has arisen over matters of ‘mutuality’ and whether mutual arrangements have to be made with each of the 27 States or collectively via the EU Commission3. The Commission argues that the UK is now a foreign power. The French State is still covering their health costs as though they are French nationals – as an act of humanity, but is arguing with the UK Government about funding.   France does not see why the British elderly should be a drain on its funds4,  “Why should the French tax payer find the cost!”
The argument between France and the UK5 and the European Commission goes on and on and Mary and Rosemary hear much via the TV but philosophically say ‘whatever will be, will be’. They are pawns in a game between the Governments.  The Prime Minister argues with the French President. The EU Commission more or less says ‘You voted out!’ – The EU has troubles6 enough with the other States, particularly the Netherlands, and Denmark, and then Putin is still putting pressure on the Baltic States, which include a Russian population.  The EU can’t be bothered about Rosemary and Mary. They are foreigners.
1. The WFP was stopped for pensioners in France by Iain Duncan Smith on spurious grounds.
The DLA was only allowed after the EU made representations to the UK.
2.  The outflow of sterling could force the Government to find various austerity measures. The Pension Act of 2014 enables them to freeze the State pension to those living abroad -  The release of EU protective regulations now permits this for the EU States.
3. The EU Commission has the role of co-ordination between the EU States and between those States and outside . If the UK wishes to agree to any EU regulations it cannot at the same time be entirely outside the EU.
4. There were in 2007 only 85 French pensioners in the UK benefiting from the NHS as a free health service.
In 2007 the French demanded 4162 euros per head from the UK for each of the 34,000 British pensioners in France.  There are now 69,000 such pensioners. Assuming that now the cost for health care is likely to be over 4,500 euros/head at the very least, the global sum will be now exceed 310,000,000 euros per year.  Seriously, would France ask the French tax payer to pay this sum?
But those pensioners are not using the staff nor the physical structure of the NHS in the UK.
5. Not dissimilar problems would arise with Spain (particularly) and other EU States
6. The right wing parties in other EU States are pressuring their governments. Russia will see the Brexit as a weakening of the EU.  A certain amount of political discord would follow a Brexit.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The future for The British Citizen if the vote should fall for Brexit.

The Prime Minister speaks forcibly to The Telegraph. Read

Mr.Cameron in the above speaks of Trade.  What is written below is from the viewpoint of a Citizen who was born in 1932.  I remember years of poverty before WWII  even as far back as the jubilee of King George V, the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II, when as a four year old I danced round a celebratory bonfire singing the song of  the Boy Scouts in charge ‘There may be flies on you you you, but the’re no flies on us”.   Within a few years those Scouts were fighting for European civilisation.
I voted in the Referendum of 1975 and knew quite well what we were voting for.
Since the terrible times of 1939-1945 much has changed.  I took advantage of the European Union to retire to live in France.  I celebrate the cementing of European Culture across the nation states.  During my time I have had more irritation with British bureaucratic intransigence than with the French.  What follows is a view of the problems facing those who would follow in our paths.
The Generations of British Citizens to come who might wish to live in other EU States.
Jobs.  Those seeking to be employed would have to obtain some form of work permit. Unskilled workers would find it extremely hard to establish themselves, if it were at all possible. Those wishing to set up businesses – perhaps as plumbers or other technical craftsmen would find it near impossible.
Money exchange – There would be no guarantee that State pensions would be paid without  change -  British Law – The Pension Act 2014 clause 20 - permits the Minister of DWP to freeze pensions paid to citizens who live abroad. The clause was included despite protests.
All money transfers -The individual EU States could impose a tax on money coming from the UK.  It has happened before. 
The British Government could impose ceilings on money going abroad – it has done so before – Mrs Thatcher removed such a ceiling.
Without the protection afforded by EU regulations nothing is certain.  This will be labelled scare mongering by Brexiteers – but what is certain is the uncertainty. If Brexit should fall, all would depend on negotiations between the UK and the other 27 States, taking years.
Uncertainty will cause the value of the £ to fall.
Possibilities of other restrictions.  With the lifting of the protection of the EU regulations, each EU State is able to act independently.  This opens the way for restrictions to be imposed on Bank accounts of foreigners or on their property or any other discriminatory taxes and laws, without any EU wide protection..  The incipient freedom to open UK based bank accounts and use UK financial institutions would falter.
Medical Care.  Again it is the EU regulation [883/2004] which establishes the right to provision of health care across the EU.  This is at two levels.
1. The European Health Insurance Card –EHIC .  This is issued by the citizen’s ‘Competent State’ for Social Security to all travellers within the EU and entitles such to any emergency treatment for visitors in another State. This would cease.
2. The treatment for resident pensioners and their dependents.  The Medical care is given as though one is a national of the State where the Citizen is resident but the cost of that is borne by the NHS. – (i.e the Social Security of the ‘Competent State’).
Visa requirements  As happens now with Americans who wish to reside in France et alia,  immigrants (for that is what future citizens would be) would be required to demonstrate financial stability. This can affect accompanying spouses and the visits of Family and Friends.  Visas often have time limits.
Citizenship.  The possibility of voting for and serving on local communal councils will cease.  British citizens will no longer be considered as normal members of the community. This will cause changes of approach at any public department where  public servants operate.
Border checks.  British Citizens would have to pass through NON-EU gates at the EU borders which would be likely to prove onerous with more detailed inspection.
Nationality British Citizens would cease to be European Citizens protected under EU law. They would be immigrants and foreigners. Britons living abroad could apply for nationality of  the country in which they reside, but it is an expensive and lengthy process and Austria does not permit dual citizenship. Surrendering British Nationality would be foolish.
Brian Cave with the help of Frank Jackson.

Friday, April 1, 2016

British Pensioners in Europe and beyond - An Analysis.

British Pensioners in Europe and beyond – An Analysis.
The emigration of pensioners to Europe and beyond.

 The countries coloured Blue are in the EU.  Those without star *  have pensions frozen at the time the recipient emigrated.  

Of  the 12,955,300 Citizens who receive the UK State Pension, by 2015 - 1,230,390 live outside the UK. That is 9.5%. 

  1. Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
  2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
  3. Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
  4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
  5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
  6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?  - And Italy?
  7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008 - 2014? Why the increase to India – a frozen pension country?

Suggestions for the answers – derived from anecdotal evidence.
1.  Why do the pensioners emigrate? 
            It varies –
Often the housing costs are considerably cheaper.  (Much of Europe,)
Some are joining children who have previously emigrated. (Australia, Canada)
Some are returning to the land of their birth. (India? Jamaica? Ireland? )
Summer weather/climate is drier and warmer  (Much of  Europe)
The countries of retirement are English Speaking  (Ireland, N.Z. etc)
There is more space and a less hectic way of life (Much of Europe).
The desire for new adventure while there is still time -- 
Exposure to a different culture ,and, learning a new language, broadening experience
Some dislike of changes in the UK, especially any which restrict their lives.

2. Why has the numbers generally flattened off since 2011?
The threatening approach of a possible Brexit? (All Europe curves). The Times journal 29/03/16 reports that ‘a hundred a day are returning to the UK from Spain’.
See also Italy q.7 below. Austerity?
Remembering that everyone has a certain life-span.  The increase in numbers represents additions minus deaths.  It is likely that a ceiling in the curve of those emigrating would be reached. However note the countries where the %’s fall.
Further a slight addition could be of those who have achieved pensionable age whilst living abroad.

3.  Is this emigration of advantage or not to the British Economy?
.Positive  - The pensioners do not use the physical facilities of the NHS, even though those in Europe get some payment of their medical care.  Those far from Europe get no support.
They free up some housing stock.
They do not use the free bus passes and TV licences which saves money.
Many have UK based investments, benefiting the economy, and could and would  do so more if the UK Government made it easier.
Negative – Their pensions are not all spent in the UK economy.

4. What are the advantages or disadvantages to the pensioners in emigrating?
Positive – as listed generally in answer to 1.
Negative – Lack of any voice at all at the political level – leading to no voice in the manner and use of UK investments.
A feeling of almost total neglect or lack of interest in them by the British Government.
In certain countries the pension falls in value year by year as it is frozen.

5. Why have the numbers in Pakistan and Jamaica fallen so much?
Possibly the standard of living and Governance of these countries is a problem. Pakistan also has a frozen pension regime.

6. And why have they fallen in Australia and Canada and South Africa?.
The freezing of the State pension is a very likely cause.
And Italy?  Uncertain – The fears of a Brexit seem most likely.

7. Why have the numbers risen so much in N.Z., Ireland and France between 2008-2014?
N.Z. provides pensions which supplement the frozen UK pension and it is a very ‘English’ country.
Ireland is almost certainly the birth-land or ancestral land of many UK State pensioners. It has more space and in many ways is so similar to England.
France is adjacent to England and there is easy access to family and friends, within a short time travel.
India has a steadily rising economy, but is at present an economical country. It has little religious friction, and would be attractive to retiring ‘British’ Indians, who have done well in the UK.

Postscript –  It can be argued that it is in the interest of the British economy to encourage the pensioners to retire abroad (q.v. 3 above).  It is unfortunate that the Government puts difficulties in their way with regard to investing in British enterprises, and financial institutions. Many (especially in the EU) buy goods from the UK.
The figures are all derived from published Government Statistics on the State pension.

Monday, February 29, 2016

The Winter Fuel Payment

This is a copy of a document sent to the DWP on 29th February 2016.
The Subject concerns the Statutory Instrument 2014 no. 3270 tabled before Parliament 15th December 2014. This removes payment of the WFP within 6 countries and Gibraltar.

Reference your FoI reply 360 of  26th February 2016,
Attention – P.Lapraik, Work, Welfare and Wellbeing later in Life Division within the DWP.

Dear Mr Lapraik
You have experience of producing official booklets for ‘At-risk groups including older people with pre-existing medical conditions as well as those whose health, housing or economic circumstances put them at greater risk of harm from cold weather.’  I am aware the booklets were drawn up to care for older people in England, however, it seems to me the advice should apply to all British Citizens in receipt of a UK State Pension.
The two booklets pay attention to the negative health effects starting at relatively moderate outdoor mean temperatures of 4-8°C; and refer to the geographical distribution of cold weather as not being uniform. Low temperatures tend to be more severe in rural and exposed areas, occurring earlier in some parts of the country than others.
You were involved in the development and application of a policy, which declared an average winter temperature for the whole of France of 7.0°C, when you knew 19 of 22 Regions of France were below that figure, and 15 of them were below that of SW England.  The outcome has been damaging for numerous British pensioners in other States of the EU as you will discover as you read towards the end of this document after I have commented on the reply to question four of my FoI request.

In this mail I seek an internal review of my FoI 360 request, for I find the reply which I have received unsatisfactory.
I respond  in turn to each of the answers to my questions.
Reply Question One.   1. To state what was the objective in drawing up this S.I.?
Your reply refers me to the S.I. note & memorandum  The memorandum states
Ministers are concerned about paying Winter Fuel Payments in EEA countries where the weather is generally warmer than the UK.  Therefore, DWP has considered ways of ensuring that the payment is better targeted on people who live in countries with a cold  climate.”

The following answer (TWO) implies that this is incorrect.  For that reply states -  Other methods of making off-setting savings in public expenditure were considered”.

Although the memorandum states that the objective reason is otherwise, this is an obfuscation, for the true objective reason is a cost saving measure.
Do you agree or not that the objective reason is a cost saving measure?
Briefing from the DWP led both the Prime Minister’s Office, and that of the then Chairman of the Conservative Party to write to many complainants, that the DWP was: “broadly offsetting the cost of a recent European court judgement which stated that the Government must pay Winter Fuel Payment to EEA citizens who have a "genuine and sufficient link" with the UK”.   This is clearly saying that the measure was intended as a cost-saving proposal. Does this not indicate that the DWP has the intention to circumnavigate around  the EU regulations on the protection of the aged to achieve this objective? The memorandum in so many words admits that this was the intention.

Reply Question Two  2. Which other methods of achieving that objective were considered?
Your reply clearly says that my question is not going to be answered.   I wish to explore this because it is central to discovering the reasons for the S.I.   I think we can agree, can we not, that the objective reason is a cost saving measure.  On that basis what other measures were considered to cut the costs?  

Did the DWP research the possibility of including the WFP as an integral part of the State Pension, perhaps as a higher winter supplement to it?
Did the DWP consider dropping the WFP altogether?
Did the DWP consider  means testing of the WFP?
? others?

Reply Question Three 3. Why was the temperature criterion selected to achieve this objective?
The question is asking ---  What led the DWP to latch onto the idea of a temperature test? i..e. To cut the costs!
Again the answer throws one back to the Explanatory memorandum.  That reveals no further information on this question.
It says -DWP is aware there will be people who live in cold regions of “warm” countries who will not be eligible for a Winter Fuel Payment.  
The welfare of the individual citizen was considered of lesser worth than the convenience of the administration.  An attempt has been made to search for loop holes or weaknesses in EU law to save costs, with disregard for the impact on  numerous British Citizens. Do you not agree?

Reply question Four . 4. What investigation or investigations were carried out to consider the potential impact of this temperature criterion on the poorer British Citizen
State pensioners resident in the seven EU States and dependency affected by this S.I.?
What investigations were carried out etc – i.e. impact assessments?  You admit that none at all were carried out, do you not?
The aforesaid Explanatory note states
“A full impact assessment has not been produced for these Regulations as they have no impact on the private sector or civil society organisations.”
You send to me in answer the Equality Analysis relating to restricting eligibility to Winter Fuel Payments in the EEA – Which is indeed not a full impact statement for the reply itself admits that the DWP has not considered the socio-economic implications of the S.I. 
That Equality Act States –"An authority must….have due regard to the desirability of exercising them in a way that is designed to reduce the inequalities of outcome which result from socio-economic disadvantage."
Whatever the statement in the reply “Please note that socio-economic status is not a protected characteristic under section 149 (public sector equality duty) of the Equality Act 2010” is meant to convey…..
I cannot read anything in the Equality Act 2010 which justifies the exclusion of appropriate consideration of the impact of this S.I. on the weak, the aged, and the disabled, citizens.  It specifically states that AGE is a protected characteristic.

[Postscript to this on 20/03/2016 – Mr. Lapraik’s report on the relation between the Equality Act 2010   states Age Impact  There is no evidence to suggest that there will be any impact on people on the  basis of their age. The change does not affect the age at which a customer will be entitled to a WFP.]
One might argue that the SI selectively targets certain groups of  aged citizens and that as such it is contrary to the spirit of the Equality Act.]
I give below some extracts of information which I hold of such impacts which demonstrate unequivocally the deleterious impacts on some citizens resident in other States of the EU. They demonstrate only too well the manner in which the DWP fails to obey the requirements of the Equality Act with regard to welfare of the elderly.
 I ask for you to fully consider the matters I draw to your attention and consider the consequences of continuing the actions which the DWP have established.
Is it not the responsibility of your division within the DWP to recommend measures for the well being of the aged British Citizens?

1  --- 10/02/2012 20:03
Good Evening Mr Cave.
Just as I was yesterday, I am typing Emails sitting up in bed. I am  fully clothed in three jumpers, two pairs of trousers and a track suit. 
My dear husband, similarly dressed, is tucked up beside me.  He is eighty-six, and suffers from epilepsy and  a certain amount of mental confusion.
Outside the temperature is minus 2 degrees, and is expected to fall to minus 10 degrees tonight - a big improvement on the
minus 14 degrees we had last night.
We retired to bed at three o'clock this afternoon, when my husband found that crouching over our log-burner became too much strain
on his back.  The only room we can afford to keep warm is our bedroom, where we can use our electric blanket
plus a paraffin stove for warmth.  Our house has an antiquated central heating system which has broken down - and we can't afford to repair
or replace it. 
My husband served his country during the war, and worked all his life thereafter without claiming a day's unemployment benefit.
He finally retired at seventy.

2 -- 15/02/2012
Like your correspondent, we moved to France sixteen years ago, the year before the Winter Fuel Payment was instituted.  Since then, we have met many British expats, most of whom arrived in France more than six years after ourselves, and they, of course, do receive this allowance.  Whilst we do not, of course, hold this against them; good luck to them - I'm glad they get it. But it is this blatant discrimination by the British government, resulting in the older, more frail (and in many cases, poorer) pensioners being the ones to whom this vital heating allowance is denied and this really upsets me.  It beggars belief and I am absolutely astonished that those in successive governments have been unable to see this, not to mention their breaking of European rules (as outlined by the British Expats Association, Spain, and yourself, on many occasions). 
Like most of our friends, when we arrived in France aged 60, we were in good health.  However, as we all know, as the years go on, many of us are beset by various illnesses and the frailty of old age.  I have had several operations and many investigations in hospital for various internal and ophthalmic problems.  My husband had a hip replacement three years ago and two other operations since then.  He was diagnosed with lung cancer a year ago, for which he is being treated with chemotherapy.  He has suffered horrific and debilitating side effects and I am, of course, at the age of 77, his only carer.  We have no family, either here or in the U.K.  There have been improvements as well as setbacks in the progress of his illness and further chemotherapy is planned.
As you can imagine, this past year has been extremely hard on both of us and it is only with the support of the excellent French health professionals as well as the kindness of our friends and neighbours (both French and British) that we have managed to cope.   We live on a joint pension income of 12,000 pounds sterling per annum and have to draw on our very modest savings to supplement this.   Because of our low income, we downsized seven years ago to a tiny, one-bedroomed house which my husband converted from a carpenter's workshop but his illness and treatment cause him to feel the cold in the extreme and, in spite of the size of our house, I dread to think what our heating bill will be this Winter.  It is so dreadfully unfair that we and others in our situation are not allowed to receive the Winter Fuel Payment  from the British government when our compatriots do!  And, of course, there is nothing we can do about it as, having lived in France for more than fifteen years, we are now disenfranchised as well!
S.E R.
3 -- December 30th 2014
I’m a 74 year old British Pensioner, I have health problems - high blood pressure placing me in a high risk category of heart attacks and strokes, requiring beta blocker medication for the rest of my life; and I’m a thrombophilia sufferer requiring anti-coagulants for the rest of life, which thin my blood and make me more vulnerable to extreme temperatures.  So, it doesn’t matter whether I live in Blarney, Bristol, Bologna, Bordeaux or Barcelona, cold weather will always affect me.  OK if I live in Bologna, Bordeaux or Barcelona, I may get more daytime sunshine, particularly in the winter, but night-time in those countries will be much colder than Blarney or Bristol!  A British Pensioner is still a British Pensioner wherever he/she chooses to live within the EU!
4 -- December 31st 2014
Thanks for this Brian - just read my EDF meter which tells me that my bill for 2 months will be just under 400€ and it will get even colder over the next 2 months. I'm 70 and I really do feel the cold more and more with each passing year.
5 -- January 5th 2015  Copied from The Anglo-Info forum site for Normandy.
I came here in 2005, rushing out of another European country and settled into rural life with difficulty. At that stage I had health and a car. I had a major car accident in 2010 followed by cancer  in 2011 (from which I am supposed to be in "remission", it might be stabilising) and am now alone trying to deal with the ridiculous situation that I am far from anywhere and have nothing to eat and also have difficulties eating and can't stand being on my own . This has nothing to do with the local people who on the whole are kind to me, although not really available to deal with this, but everything to do with me. I see no solutions to this situation at all.  I am known to the local social services and the local community. The supermarkets are 11 to 18 km away, there is no-one to take me to it and in any case I have been known to walk into and out of the local supermarket without buying anything. Also home deliveries are just about possible but not for the quantities I need. There is one bus a day from a two km walk to the village to one of the (moribund) towns.  I am at least three hours' drive from anyone who posts on this site   (south of Rouen).  I tried to buy some frozen things with the cleaning lady who gone away for more than a week now. It is insufficient and I am going hungry.
My house is cold.  I am 64, taking the cancer drug femara (not chemotherapy) and going mad here. My doctor is both on strike and doesn't want to know particularly. Also being "big" going down to a mere 91 kilos recently I have literally nothing much to wear apart from outsize t shirts which are embarrassingly like scarecrow stuff on me.   I see no solutions.

6 -- January 8th 2014
We live in Burgundy where winter temperatures vary between minus 10c to minus 20c.
We have already had minus 10c and the coldest part of our winter is yet to come. My husband is 81, a diabetic and had a stroke 6 years’ ago. I am 71 and in good health but I feel the cold badly. It will be a real hardship for us not to have the winter fuel allowance.
 We are also puzzled by the fact that the UK has included warmer countries outside France in the decision to stop our allowance. These countries are not a part of
mainland France and  mainland France is not affected by their weather patterns. We therefore don’t understand the logic involved in this current decision at all.
It’s tantamount to saying that, if India were still a part of the UK, that no one in the UK would be eligible either!  
29 March 2015
7 --
My husband, ******, is 77 years old, he has mobility problems, sciatica, asthma, insulin dependent diabetes, heart problems, and has been fighting cancer for 3 years. I have been his 24/7 carer for the last few years and still am, how dare the government want to strip us of everything we are entitled to?
I thank you for your support and help on behalf of both of us
with kindest regards  L.D.
8 -  April 19th 2015 Two histories passed on by a Charity supporter.
This gentleman is aged 90.  He joined  the RN as Boy Seaman aged 16. Served in an MTB .Sunk by enemy on D Day.He suffered severe wounds to his stomach. Was nursed back to health at the RN Hospital Haslar.
When discharged  became schoolmaster, founding a  Language School in the Belgian Congo & then teaching in Portsmouth. On retirement in the 1980's he moved to France.  Divorced . Three female children. One dead, others live ouside UK. Unable to provide funds.
He moved around  the Dordogne & South Charente  taking on house sitting jobs or living in rented accomodation. His capital was diminished by the banking crisis. He became unable to pay his rent. He was helped by Mrs Susan Patrick until recently, the SSAFA Treasurer for France . A tower of strength who persuaded his former Masonic Lodge to pay towards his debts and liaised with the French  "Service Publique",who  placed him  "sous tutelle" .Therefore his possessions have been sold & he is now confined in the Maison de Retraite in Aigre,Charente.His pension is used to pay for his upkeep. I think,but can not confirm  that he has been allowed to keep the Winter Fuel Payment. Which he will now lose. He does, of course, receive the annual £10 pensioners Xmas bonus from a grateful British Government!!

9 -- PETER.
Aged 70 plus.  Worked for the Sussex CC restoring artwork in Brighton Pavillion. Very small pension on early retirement. Lives here in  Creyssac,the village where my wife & I have lived for 20 years. The local GP asked us to keep an eye on him some 7 years ago. We found him living in total squalor . He was very ill.  The Pompiers  took him to Perigueux Hospital. He was in Intensive Care for a week. He was not registered with the Health Authority( CPAM ) so the Bordeaux Consulate were informed . They asked us to help. (There is no longer an Honorary Consul in the North Dordogne)   We contacted Newcastle to obtain  the the UK state Pension for him.They acted promptly,replying to the request for help by telephone midday on a Sunday. (Bravo)
He  lives  in a derelict house with no running water surviving on the two pensions & for the last 2 years the Winter Fuel Payments that he will now lose.

10 -- April 20th 2015  From a carer who visits an elderly couple.
I carry a fleece in my car which I put on when I arrive at my client’s house because it is so cold inside! I pat myself on the back each year when she makes it through  to May again. I buy thermal vests, fleecy dressing gowns & socks for them for Christmas & birthdays. Her mobility is so bad & the house so old that I insist they  have the heating on 10 months of the year, day & night (I know they turn it off when I leave & go to bed instead).

11 --  May 7th 2015.  (From Telegraph article by Elizabeth Roberts) Michael Boyd-Carpenter, 83, a retired stockbroker who lives in the Dordogne, said that while he has enough money to live on he knows of elderly Britons in his area struggling to make ends meet.
One, a man in his 90s, was wounded in action during the Second World War. His capital was diminished by the banking crisis and, unable to pay his rent, he now lives in a state care home.
 “I think he has been allowed to keep the winter fuel payment [so far] but will now lose it,” said Mr Boyd-Carpenter. “He’s a good example of someone who will suffer. So much for caring for our war heroes.”
Another, a man in his 70s, subsists on a small private pension plus the UK state pension.
“He lives in a derelict house with no running water surviving on the two pensions and, for the last two years, the winter fuel payments that he will now lose,” said Mr Boyd-Carpenter.
12 --  August 2nd 2015  from R.M (France)
I live in L Q a small commune in Dept 22 - The winters here can be bitterly cold and we do have heavy rain, snow and ice - in the beginning of December and later on in the New Year.  It is most uncomfortable and I am housebound. We have no facilities eg shops, restaurants, mobile shops here in the commune.  I do not drive and have to organise  Transport on Demand - trips to ……. for shopping (have a friend who lives there) etc. I have to give two days notice but I try and plan ahead and go shopping monthly.  Here are some pictures of the commune.
I have four hot water bottles on standby!!
13 ---  21/08/2015 – from S.F.
My mother-in-law is 86 and lives here and she uses the WFA for her logs – it covers about half her winter fuel costs and she’s in S. Portugal where we can have frosts for 3 months of the year!

14 – 25/08/2015  D. 
After appalling surgery in 1977 I was left with a condition which left me able to do only light work  (from which I had to retire even earlier than anticipated) & which exempted me from  all prescription payments.  I lived in the West Country for 25 years during which time I experienced that number of winters (including being snowed-in for 2 weeks) and  I had to have fires, boilers, heating appliances in use from October round to the following May.  I seem to remember that it was the West Country that was sighted as the “levelling post” in terms of temperatures which deemed the cessation of w.f.payments to many  and which is why I mention the fact.  When I was 60 I moved to Sthn Spain  for my health which, I have to say, has improved.  However,  I still cannot go without indoor warmth in the winter months here, and living in the foothills of the mountains (but only 220 mtrs above sea level yet I was higher than that in the West Country!) still requires me to have fires during our winter months for my comfort and health.  It should also be recognised that one´s body becomes acclimatized to the heat of summer and consequently feels the cold even more so.  I buy my winter fuel supply of burning logs during the summer when they are cheaper, but one lorry load still costs me €350 so the absence of my winter fuel allowance is a severe loss to my well-being.
15 –  30/08/2015 SM
Writing to the MP.   I hope I can rely on your Support, as you know my circumstances here are not ideal renting a poorly maintained property, costing me a fortune in heating bills, €2,700 € in diesel heating fuel from March 2014,and My electricity bill has recently been  increased to €130 pm, I've had to have electric heating on in evenings these last few days, due to one of my health conditions, autoimmune Thyroiditis, now turned to Hashimoto's,  of which feeling cold is one symptom. I am now just 68 this month, poor health and dreading the winter here, but powerless to do anything, except write to you in hopes of saving my WFA, and say every little helps! 

16 – 5/09/2015 FM
We are pensioners on a very low State pension of around £800 a month which is about half the suggested amount required to live a comfortable life here in France.We need to heat our property from September through to May. The average temperatures here in the Charente are 4.5 degrees during the cold winter months, which are below that of the south of England. Our house temperature does not go above 20 degrees during the winter and we have struggled to keep warm in previous winters.

17  -  15/09/2015 Copied from a comment on the AngloInfo forum
We can't vote after 15 years so we don't count.  Shame on them I say.   As for me, well my husband is suffering from cancer and last winter we needed the heating on 24/7 because he'd lost so much weight he couldn't keep warm.  That extra bit of cash helped a great deal.  I know it's not a lot, and having it withdrawn won't stop me burning the extra oil this winter to keep him warm..  But as folks who are below the tax threshold it did make a difference. 

18 -11 December 2015 I am appalled to learn that Ian Duncan Smith has stopped the Winter Fuel Payment for this  year. 2015- I only got last year’s on 9th March this year which left us in dire straits.
I am sitting in the house in a heavy coat typing this as we have NO HEATING and the house is freezing.
I cannot remember the exact degrees government say you need to sit in and bedroom a couple of degrees lower but I found in the UK with housing benefit that you could spend whatever you liked on TV and Internet but to keep warm or eat - NO WAY.
I am a British citizen and 71yrs old- chronically ill - I get bronchitis which turns to pneumonia- hopefully this year it won't as I have been given a pneumonia vaccine for the first time.
My son is only 36yrs old and chronically ill due to being assaulted in the UK and as he suffers with diabetes and epilepsy he feel the cold terribly and is prone to bronchitis.
It is ridiculous to say we don't need heat- it is freezing here at the moment and has been like this for a week- rain and dampness to top it all.
As the European Court found in our favour surely this is going against EU rules