Wednesday, December 31, 2014

See how it dropped

Untitled-1It might have felt warm in the sun yesterday but out of it was decidedly chilly. As you can see from the graph, the maximum temperature recorded in Orihuela was a bare 12 degrees between 2pm and 4 ‘o clock. It then plummeted down, reaching 0 degrees by 2am.

The central heating in our house is set to come on at 4pm and normally has the place as warm as toast within half an hour. Yesterday it was struggling to reach 20 degrees by 6pm and only really got warm by about 7:30.

This cold spell is set to last until about Saturday after which it should start to become a little warmer.


Earlier this year, George Osborne revealed plans to cut winter fuel payments to 100,000 ex pats. The Prime Minister pledged that the payments would be protected until 2015 but after the next election that could all change.

The original ruling was that you had to have lived in Britain at the age of 60 to claim but that was overruled by the European Court of Justice. That meant that Pam and I, who left Britain at the age of 57, can now claim. For the last couple of year we have received £100 each – thank you.

Like many benefits, the winter fuel payment is not means tested and therein lies the problem. There are some living in both Britain and abroad who do not need to rely upon the payment to keep warm but, by the same token, there are many who do.

For the whole of our working lives we paid National Insurance and we paid tax, more I dare say than the average working Brit. We don’t get any of the other benefits that British pensioners might receive and even pay a proportion of our prescription costs under the copago system in Valencia. Actually, because our works pensions are government pensions, we still pay income tax in the UK so we are still, in effect, contributors to the UK economy. 

The assumption made by Mr Osborne, is that temperatures in countries like Spain average 17 degrees in winter and as you can see from the graph yesterday, that is not necessarily true. Our gas bills for the winter quarters are well over 300 euros each which is probably similar to those for pensioners in Britain. I am not saying that we rely upon that payment but it certainly helps.

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