In the cold

Image: Fizkes/Shutterstock

THIS week’s freezing temperatures in Spain have reopened the argument for bringing back the Winter Fuel Payment for British expats.

The scheme, which offers up to £600 for help with heating bills, was withdrawn for British nationals living outside of the UK in 2015, a move which wasn’t seen as particularly controversial by those in the UK who see the Spain as balmy temperatures all year round.

Those who actually live in Spain know the reality is very different however, with temperatures inland and particularly in the mountains often dipping into the minuses in winter.

Expats who spent tens of years of their lives paying in to the National Insurance system were justifiably angry with the turn of events when the news was announced. Now, plunging temperatures combined with soaring electric costs have made brought this issue into the spotlight once again.

With a British government besieged by negative press and looming financial problems however, it doesn’t look like this issue will be a priority for them.

Is this right though? Expats are by nature, people who have paid taxes for many years before then asking for very little in return from their governments when they retire, in either health or social care.

Given that the number of expats worldwide is estimated 5.5 million and soon set to have UK voting rights for life though, the British government might like to remember the importance of the looking after of all its citizens, not just the ones living in Britain.

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