Gotta admire the chutzpah here

Thousands of retired British pensioners living in France have been “cheated” out of their winter fuel payments by ministers who used French territories in the Caribbean and Indian Ocean to argue that France is too hot to qualify for the benefits.

Well, France does insist that those places really are part of France.

31 thoughts on “Gotta admire the chutzpah here”

  1. Thats a good start. Benefits meant to alleviate conditions in the UK are only to be paid in the UK. Now lets apply that thinking to the benefits paid to immigrant workers domiciled in their countries of origin.

  2. Retire to the South of France for the fine climate but by God we need the winter fuel payments, it’s freezing down here.

  3. So Much for Subtlety

    According to the Met Office, the average winter temperature for France including the DOMS is 7.0°C, while without the DOMS, it is just 4.9°C, a full degree under the UK average used by the DWP.

    A full degree under the UK average? What the hell is wrong with the Met office? Global Warming was bad enough but how can a country that includes Aberdeen be a full degree warmer than one that includes Corsica?

  4. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Worstall – “Because the measurement is against the region of Britain that is warmest, the South West.”

    Even so. London is 51 34 N. Paris is 48 something or other. And the vast majority of France is to the south of Paris. In fact virtually all of France must be to the south of London – Brussels is 50 odd.

    Either something is wrong with their measurements or the Gulf Stream is damn strong.

  5. @K.R. Lohse,

    How about “benefits” (actually, in the case of pensions unquestionably just getting some of your own money back) being paid to those that have paid for them, irrespective of nationality or current residence?

  6. What do they mean by the average temperature of ‘France’? If ‘France’ is taken to include several places in different parts of the world, how do they weight the temperatures to produce one average figure? By area? By population? By number of measuring points?

  7. What the government needs to do is pay a state pension of £1, and a “winter fuel allowance” of the state pension minus £1, which is only available in those places with a temperature exactly that of the UK. Colder places are assumed to be better insulated thus don’t need it.

    No doubt this proposal will find approval with the Lohses of this world, and all the euroskeptic libertarian British expats owed pension by the UK who comment here.

  8. So Much for Subtlety

    Tim Worstall – “Correct.”

    I am trying, but I am still not buying it. Yes, you can grow vines in the UK, but Burgundy is famous. The vintages of Kent are not. Is this because Ian B is right and the Puritans have prohibited a happy wine drinking culture? Or is it because France is a lot warmer than Britain?

    This means that people living in Italy – which is further south than France – will still get the allowance. However, people living in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Malta, Gibraltar and Cyprus, will no longer get the money.

    So it looks like Polly’s got friends in the Government then. She gets to keep her fuel allowance. Because, as we all know, Umbria is colder than Sussex. Right?

  9. bloke (not) in spain

    I’m guessing European France scores low on the average temperature scale coz of all the pointy bits.
    Cornwall not being noted for its Alps, Pyranees or Massif Central. And I can assure you May in the Tarn et Garonne is a f****g sight colder than Truro. Big mistake Val d’Aveyron. Big mistake. Note to self: Next time wear fur.

  10. What benefits can I as a 36 year old unmarried guy living in China and avoiding as much tax as possible scrounge??

  11. Most of France is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than most of the UK.

    Gulf stream, continental vs maritime climates and all that.

    I can assure you that CH, despite being really quite a long way South, is really somewhat brisk in the winter, even in the lowlands.

  12. B(n)iS gets it : France experiences both much colder and much warmer weather than the UK, the former because of the altitudes and weird, freezing winds like the mistral, and the latter because of the latitude. It is a pointless comparison that should not be made: if you fuck off abroad to live, don’t expect to pick up every last benefit in the UK.

  13. Taxes paid in the past are not an insurance scheme guaranteeing benefits in the future. Even National Insurance is not an insurance scheme.

    If people want a State which pays benefits to people wealthy enough to retire to foreign climes, they are going to get a State completely incontinent as far as spending is concerned and which will, ironically for them, laugh at the idea of taxes as insurance for future benefits.

  14. I’m just imagining the idea of a State insurance scheme with assets of, say, £100bn. Just imagine what Murphy, Polly et all would say about that.

    “Plunder in the name of Social Justice! Liquidate the Kulaks as a class!”

    Similarly with a Sovereign Wealth Fund. I read a lot about this in Leftist literature, but it could not possibly exist in this country. It would be spent several times over before the first drop of oil left the ground.

  15. While I believe that if you live outside the UK you shouldnt get any benefits this just shows the stupidity or duplicity of the UK government. I live in the south of China. In the winter it can be 20 degrees here and minus 40 degrees up north. How they can take an average temp,if they.want to give benefits abroad, is mental.

  16. “something is wrong with their measurements or the Gulf Stream is damn strong”: did you pay no fucking attention at school? Much of France has a Continental climate, for God’s sake. Do you really think that Alsace or the Jura are warmer in January than Cornwall?

  17. “If people want a State which pays benefits to people wealthy enough to retire to foreign climes, they are going to get a State completely incontinent as far as spending is concerned and which will, ironically for them, laugh at the idea of taxes as insurance for future benefits.”

    Then they should stop encouraging us to voluntarily pay Class 3 NI contributions then, shouldn’t they? And return those that we paid clearly under false pretenses…

  18. @Tim, part of the confusion is whether this payment is a “benefit” or part of the pension that you’ve been forced to pay for. Doesn’t help that a lot of governments (the UK notably, Germany also) have been agitating for social benefits to non economically-active EU immigrants to be paid for by the government of the place they came from. The UK gov seems to want it both ways here.

  19. Why the hell is anyone getting this payment?

    I have been reliably informed that 2014 is the hottest ever year ever EVAH!!!! and snow is a thing of the past and we are now growing nothing but coconuts and mangoes.

    It’s as if the Met Office is fiddling the temperatures to suit the government’s needs or something.

  20. The forthcoming UKIP/SNP coalition government will introduce a larger Winter Fuel Allowance for Scotland because its heating season is longer. Just you wait.

  21. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “I’m guessing European France scores low on the average temperature scale coz of all the pointy bits.”

    It must be. So they do not take into account places where people actually live, but do an even spread across the whole country? This is odd.

    abacab – “Most of France is hotter in the summer and colder in the winter than most of the UK.”

    But it is an average. Unless it is an average of winter temperatures and not annual ones.

    “Gulf stream, continental vs maritime climates and all that.”

    Indeed. But the whole of Europe benefits from the Gulf Stream. Paris is further north than Fargo, North Dakota.

    Tim Newman – “France experiences both much colder and much warmer weather than the UK, the former because of the altitudes and weird, freezing winds like the mistral, and the latter because of the latitude.”

    It will be warm water from the Caribbean and warm air following it. The Sirocco coming off the Sahara must help in the summer. But what sort of average are they using? A country that is much hotter and much colder could end up about the same on average.

    dearieme – “did you pay no fucking attention at school?”

    No of course not. You?

    “Much of France has a Continental climate, for God’s sake. Do you really think that Alsace or the Jura are warmer in January than Cornwall?”

    In normal English, a continental climate means warmer. Unless you mean a more extreme climate. In which case it depends on what the average is. Siberia goes from very cold to fairly warm for instance. I don’t know about Alsace. I would not have thought it the coldest place in Europe.

    Martin Davies – “Small islands versus large landmass, We get both the gulfstream and the moderating effects of the sea.”

    Yes but remember Japan. Also a fairly small set of islands. Doesn’t get the Gulf Stream though.

    dearieme – “The forthcoming UKIP/SNP coalition government will introduce a larger Winter Fuel Allowance for Scotland because its heating season is longer. Just you wait.”

    And because old people vote for UKIP.

  22. bloke (not) in spain

    @SmfS
    Having lived in France. From it’s very northern extremity to pretty well it’s southernmost & quite a few bits in-between, can assure you – a great deal of it is easily as cold as the UK.
    And it’s very varied
    Yes some of the south can be hot. In summer. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t say even the hotter bits are much hotter than the UK.. Why should they be? They’re not really that far south. For me, France is the short easy bit of the drive home. The difference is more they’re dependably hotter.
    longer. Eastern border can get bloody cold. After all, it is Germany with attitude. And heavily populated
    West coast is much more moderated by the Atlantic, but the Vendée is reckoned to be the sunniest region in mainland France. More so than the Cote d’Azure. Bordeaux’s my favourite city because it’s a climatic pussycat. I shouldn’t have bought a place in Brittany because it rains all the time. it’s just another Cornwall. Same language, same town names, better parking regulations.
    But it is those point bits. When I crossed the Pyrenees to Pau, end May, everything up-hill was snow covered. pissing with rain & about +2deg. England was +16..Warmer than anywhere French, north of where I was..

  23. @ SMFS
    A Continental climate means more seasonal variation so, ceteris paribus, hotter in summer, colder in winter.
    Siberia gets above blood heat in summer: it was 35C in the shade when I was there in June some years ago.

  24. “In normal English, a continental climate means warmer.”

    Only of “normal” => dimwitted.

    And of course it’s winter temperatures that matter. The clue is in the name Winter Fuel Allowance.

  25. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke (not) in spain – “As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t say even the hotter bits are much hotter than the UK.. Why should they be? They’re not really that far south.”

    Jersey’s economy used to be based on the fact it was a tiny bit warmer than the UK (rest of UK? Whatever). That meant it produced the first flowers, tomatoes and potatoes of the season. They are not that much further south but it does make a difference.

    john77 – “A Continental climate means more seasonal variation so, ceteris paribus, hotter in summer, colder in winter.”

    Although that wouldn’t be true of much of the Med. And Italy has been deemed colder than the UK. Even though it is surrounded by the sea with the sea’s moderating influence.

    dearieme – “Only of “normal” => dimwitted.”

    Is that an implies sign or a greater-than-or-equals-to?

  26. Bloke in Costa Rica

    The whole concept of an ‘average temperature’ is bogus. It makes no physical sense. You can’t say St. Tropez is 9°C and Val d’Isere is -4°C and then say their average temperature is 2.5°C. You can calculate a mean temperature for the same place at the same time of year but that’s a completely different kettle of fish.

  27. bloke (not) in spain

    You still don’t get it, do you, SMfS?
    “Jersey’s economy used to be based on the fact it was a tiny bit warmer than the UK (rest of UK? Whatever). That meant it produced the first flowers, tomatoes and potatoes of the season. They are not that much further south but it does make a difference.”
    Jersey’s sitting in the middle of a great big dollop of sea.

    Give you an idea of what not being in proximity to the sea does.
    I find myself using the road from Granada to Almeria, a lot. The run east of Guadix takes me through an area where the mountains shield the ameliorating effect of the Med. It’s called the Desierto de Tabernas. It is exactly what it says on the tin. A desert. The only one in Europe, as far as I’m aware.You’ll be very familiar with it because it provides the back-drop to all those Clint Eastwood films with the strange dialogue. The mesa behind the bandido when he’s sweating & trying to work out if the gringo means it or not. It’s more like Arizona than Arizona. In the summer it’s an oven. Get caught out there in the middle of winter, as I once did, you’ll freeze yer balls off.
    Give or take a smidgen it’s the same latitude as Tim over on the green & pleasant Algarve. Where he’s about 12C deg warmer in the winter & 12C deg cooler in the summer. Coz he’s got all the Atlantic at the bottom of the drive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *