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CULTURE

Italian teenagers get €500 ‘culture bonus’ starting today

From November 3rd, every Italian teen celebrating their 18th birthday before December 31st 2016 can claim €500 from the government, to spend on cultural items.

Italian teenagers get €500 'culture bonus' starting today
The scheme will cost the govenment €290 million. Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

Every Italian resident from the class of 1998 – a total of 574,000 – can claim their 'culture bonus', which they can use to buy books, concert tickets, theatre tickets, cinema tickets, museum visits and even trips to the country’s national parks.

The scheme will cost the Italian government €290 million, but the government considers the sum to be money well spent.

“The initiative sends a clear message to youngsters, reminding them that they belong to a community which welcomes them once they come of age,” parliamentary undersecretary Tommaso Nannicini, who is overseeing the initiative, told Corriere.

“It also reminds them how important cultural consumption is, both for enriching yourself as a person and strengthening the fabric of our society,” Nannicini added.

Teenagers can access the fund by registering online and downloading a specially-made app.

Through the '18app', each user will have a €500 balance which they can use for cultural expenses until the scheme expires on December 31st, 2017 – though they have to register for the app before the end of this year.

The app allows each user to create vouchers from the culture ministry, which can be used to make purchases.

The vouchers can be printed or downloaded to smartphones and tablets for making in-store purchases and can also be used to shop online.

Next year, teachers in Italy will benefit from a similar scheme, granting them €500 to spend on their own professional development. 

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UK AND ITALY

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

In the UK, there are various benefits available to help eligible people through the cold winter months – one of which is the winter fuel payment. But can Britons living in Italy really claim this benefit to cover the cost of heating their Italian homes?

Can British people in Italy claim the UK’s winter fuel payment?

Average winter temperatures vary across Italy, but those who move here after only experiencing scorching summers are often surprised to discover just how cold the country can get.

Even the hardiest of arrivals from colder climes will no doubt have to switch on the radiators or fire up the woodburner between November and February – despite the surging costs.

READ ALSO: Not just gas: How the cost of heating has soared in Italy

As the cost of living crisis bites, some UK nationals who reside in Italy may wonder if they could still be eligible for winter fuel financial support from the UK.

What is the UK’s winter fuel payment?

The UK’s winter fuel payment is a tax-free payment to help older people with heating costs during the cold winter months.

Those eligible must have been born before September 26th 1956, according to the UK government’s website.

How much people receive depends on their age and whether anyone else in the household is also eligible, but the amount is usually between £250 and £600.

I’m a UK national living in Italy. Can I claim the winter fuel payment?

Yes, if you meet the following criteria according to the British government’s website:

“If you do not live in the UK, you’re only eligible for the Winter Fuel Payment if:

  • you moved to an eligible country before 1 January 2021
  • you were born before 26 September 1956
  • you have a genuine and sufficient link to the UK – this can include having lived or worked in the UK, and having family in the UK”

Unlike Spain and France, which the British government has deemed to be too warm on average, Italy is on the list of eligible countries along with Austria, Germany, Sweden, and others.

Find out how to claim the fuel payment on the UK government’s website here.

According to the UK government, during winter the average temperature is between 2 and 7 degrees Celsius in the UK.

READ ALSO: At what time of day is electricity cheapest in Italy?

The Italian government divides the country into six ‘climate zones’ which determine when and for how long residents should have their heating switched on each winter.

According to the government’s classification, the coldest parts of the country are the northern provinces of Cuneo, Trento, and Belluno, where no heating restrictions apply.

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