Tuesday, 13 January 2015

A bunch of rich people

EU treaty and The restriction of the WFP to certain pensioner residents in the EU.

One of our colleagues has corresponded with the EU, about the UK governments fraudulent withdrawal of the Winter Fuel Payment to UK pensioners living in some European countries and has received the following EU Reply:- 
Thank you for this enquiry. As you will already know the EU comprises an area in which the free movement of EU nationals is ensured. This freedom of movement is supported by rules which provide for common treatment of social security rights and equal treatment on the provision of social security benefits. These rules are set out in Regulation 883/2004. These rules provide, in outline: 

1. That you are subject to the social security legislation of one member state at any time (Article 11). 

2. Cash benefits payable under the legislation of one member state should not be reduced on the fact that the recipient is residence in another member state (Article 7). 

3. The United Kingdom has, until recently, provided a "Winter Fuel Payment" to UK pensioners resident in the UK only. This was prohibited under EU law (case C-Case C‑503/09, Stewart). The UK appears to have amended the rules in order to provide the benefit to pensioners resident in a number of countries only, ostensibly based on the weather in those countries. The EU rules do not provide for any available justification for this, and this does look, at first sight as though this is unlawful discrimination. 

4. We would recommend that you either look to obtaining a political solution through the EU institutions, such as by contacting your local MEP or making a complaint to the European Commission: 


It is clearly essential that the Statutory Instrument laid by the DWP [2014 No. 3270] is suppressed. There are two actions that can be taken 1.:- Complete a complaint to the EU (link is below)-  This will be difficult except for the most informed!

OR/AND  Send a message to the Works & Pension Select committee.  
workpencom@parliament.uk (Clerk's name is Mrs. Carol Oxborough) in the following form:-
"There is increasing evidence that the Statutory Instrument 2014 No. 3270 issued by the DWP infringes treaty agreements between the UK and the EU on the matter of Social Security co-ordination. It would be wise to suppress the SI before it causes embarrassment." or some other phrases of your own invention.

On 2 December 2014, a bill to scrap the 15 year limit on overseas voting was presented to the House of Commons and unanimously accepted.  It is due to go to second reading in March 2015.  This represents a unique opportunity to overturn the 15 year rule, perhaps even before the 2015 General Election, and certainly before any UK EU referendum takes place.

This affects British expats who have lived out of the UK for 15 years or more: expat professionals with international careers; second generation expats, many of whom will come of age while resident abroad without the right to vote anywhere in national elections; and pensioners.

Labour and the Lib Dems have dropped their opposition to this bill and, given the low volume of legislation passing through the House of Commons, there is ample time to pass such a bill in time for the General Election if the Government were to introduce a Government Bill early in 2015.  This would need the agreement of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as coalition partners.

Supporters of the campaign to repeal the 15 year rule are asked to write to (ex)MPs, especially Liberal Democrats, to persuade them to encourage the government to introduce legislation to repeal the 15-year rule early in the New Year, and to persuade family and friends resident in the UK to do so too, using the following suggested text:

 "On 2 December 2014, a ten minute bill to scrap the 15 year limit on overseas voting was presented to the House of Commons by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and unanimously accepted.  Supporters of the bill are now calling for the introduction of a new Bill in government time, which would give British citizens the right to vote in national elections in perpetuity.   Please encourage the government to introduce legislation to repeal the 15-year rule early in 2015 to enable the bill to be adopted before the General Election."