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Benefits: Winter Fuel Payment

Volume 689: debated on Tuesday 30 January 2007

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether winter fuel payments are made to United Kingdom pensioners who live overseas; if so, how many such payments were made in the most recent year for which figures are available; and whether they have made an assessment of the appropriateness of winter fuel payments to those pensioners who live in countries without cold winter weather. [HL1517]

European Community law provides that, in certain circumstances, some benefits acquired in one member state must be paid to people who live outside that state but within the European economic area. The Government agreed with the European Commission that winter fuel payments would be made to eligible former UK residents living elsewhere in the European economic area or Switzerland only if they qualified for a winter fuel payment before leaving the UK. We must treat all those states equally and may not therefore make payments only in countries within the European economic area with cold winter weather. Last winter 2005-06 we made 39,870 payments to people living in the European economic area or Switzerland

Source: Winter Fuel Payment Planning and Implementation Team

Notes: Figures rounded to the nearest 10.