Josephine, I'm amazed that the DWP press office is taking that view, it does not relate to what Iain Duncan Smith told the MailOnline on 30th December, and it most certainly does not relate to everything said for more than two years! So, if that is the case, then there might be a glimmer of hope, but only if they work by the figures submitted in the Met Office Report. That report showed 15 Regions of France below the 5.6°C shown for the SW of England.
For the record, it is important to use the correct title - and I'm not being pedantic - it is the Winter Fuel Payment, and not the Winter Fuel Allowance. The term is written into legislation, and calling it Allowance could easily let the DWP off the hook.
Peter, you are of correct, Winter Fuel Payment is part of the responsibility of Steve Webb, the No.2 at the DWP as Minister for Pensions. However, the vicious anti-expat drive comes from Iain Duncan Smith - Steve Webb supports a different policy, that of an income cap of the 40% tax threshold, confirmed in his Conference speech to the LibDem Conference!