Winter Fuel Payment
Yes, er.. No Minister!
You must have heard of the 80’s TV hit ‘Yes Minister’,
which was followed by ‘Yes Prime Minister’;
both series were written by Antony Jay
and Jonathan Lynn.
Our dealings with the Department for Work &
Pensions (DWP) and the former boss,
Iain Duncan Smith (IDS), who identified himself
as a leading Brexiteer, would have provided
Messrs Jay & Lynn with some wonderful material
on which to base their scripts.
Here, we offer our short parody
for a script for an episode.
Opening, IDS (playing Jim Hacker) sitting at desk reading,
he is joined by RD (playing Sir Humphrey)
his Permanent Secretary in the DWP, on one day in 2011:
RD (entering the Minister’s office) - Bad news Minister…..
IDS How bad is bad?
RD Couldn’t be worse really - (he hesitates)
IDS Well get on with it man.
RD The Court of Justice of the EU has found for the Stewart girl.(*)
IDS I don’t believe it, you said we would win.
RD No, Minister, it was the lawyers who said we would win, I simply reported the
facts to you.
IDS So, what are we going to do?
RD I’m afraid there’s more….
IDS Now you are beginning to annoy me.
RD The Court has reminded us our PPT does not co-ordinate with the
Regulations on the Co-ordination of Social Security Systems.
IDS What the hell’s the PPT?
RD The past presence test.(**)
IDS Tell me again what that means.
RD It means that all those living in Europe whose claims for benefits
we refused in the past will now have to be paid, and that includes
things like Winter Fuel Payments, because it does not co-ordinate
with the Regulations on the co-ordination of social security systems.
IDS Yes, you said that already. Does this mean we have to hand
out taxpayers’ cash to those scrounging sun loungers on the
Costa del Sol?
RD You will have to cause epistemological problems of sufficient
magnitude as to lay upon the logical and semantic resources of
the English language a heavier burden than they can reasonably
be expected to bear.
IDS Epistemological - what are you talking about?
RD You tell a lie, Minister.
IDS A lie?
RD A lie.
IDS What do you mean a lie?
RD I mean you.… lie. Yes, I know it is a difficult concept for a politician.
You.… ah yes, you do not tell the truth.
IDS So, how do I do that?
RD Well….you already put your finger on it.
IDS Which finger?
RD You mentioned the Costa del Sol. We could spin a few stories to
The Daily Mail, making them think all UK Pensioners in Europe
have moved to the Costa del Sol, and will now claim £300 a year.
IDS Like the sound of that Humphrey, better get on with it.
RD There’s one more thing Minister; you could make France hotter by
including their tropical island departments in the temperature tables.
IDS Excellent wheeze!
RD Yes Minister!
And so the ‘temperature link’ was born!
Before you begin to look at all our evidence
let us introduce ourselves - go to 'Who Are 'We'? click here
(*) ’Stewart Girl’ - a reference to the Judgment of the European Court of Justice in 2011 whereby the UK was required to pay Incapacity Benefit to Lucy Stewart suffering with Down’s syndrome, who lived outside the UK with her parents on whom she was dependent. The social security of otherwise unsupported UK citizens is the responsibility of the UK, under EU Treaty Regulations. This Judgment means that all persons who are similarly affected should be paid a benefit which they would otherwise receive if they were living in the UK, but in fact live elsewhere in the EU/EEA.
(**) The past presence test (PPT) states that, in order to be entitled for any day from the date of claim onwards, the claimant must have been present in GB for 26 weeks (or periods adding up to 26 weeks) in the 52 weeks preceding that day. This was imposed by the UK Government and ruled inadmissible by the Court of Justice.