Majorca based british OAPs want action against discrimination

More a moral victory and a step in the right direction than a complete change in UK government policy for pensioners living abroad, is how Help the Aged groups look on the decision to extend cold winter payments to some OAPs living abroad including the Balearics. British OAPs, who have claimed cold weather payments while living in Britain when it was introduced in 1998, are now entitled to do so even if they live abroad. This will be some relief for pensioners although the “allowance window” is short. In otherwords if you have never claimed the cold weather allowance then your application will be rejected. However, for those who “retired to the sun over recent years” there is some good news and they could see their pension being increased by 200 pounds this winter. “It's a step in the right direction. However, it is unfortunate that those people who most need it (who moved to the Balearics in the 1970s and 1980s and whose incomes has probably declined over the years) will be unable to claim for it,” said Judy Arnold Boakes, Federation President of Age Concern España. However, until very recently it appeared that the British government were not willing to pay anything outside the UK except the state pension. In a Bulletin interview the British Secretary of State in Palma dismissed calls for the winter allowances to be paid abroad. The government's U-turn has come about following the intervention of the European Union. Age Concern believe that the British government have a moral obligation to help pensioners living abroad especially those in European Union nations. A reduction in income as a result of a move to another European Union state could be deemed to be against the European Union's policy of free movement of people which Britain supports. One OAP told the Bulletin yesterday: “what the British government must realise that it now gets exceptionally cold in the Balearics during the winter months and therefore cold weather payments should be forthcoming. However, the view of those living in Britain is that we reside on a sunshine island and spend the whole day drinking Gin and Tonics. Sadly this is not the case and there are many pensioners who have great difficulty in getting by.”

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