As the first icy blasts of cold weather set in, new figures reveal that the government has spent over £706 million since 2010 with 28 million Cold Weather Payments helping those most in need keep warm during the depths of winter.
Payments are made automatically to those who qualify when temperatures are forecast to plummet, including poorer pensioners, disabled adults and children, and families with children under 5 who receive an income-related benefit.
Cold Weather Payments are made for each 7-day period of very cold weather – if temperatures are recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over 7 consecutive days.
Department for Work and Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:
We are absolutely committed to helping the poorest pensioners and those most susceptible to the cold. We permanently increased Cold Weather Payments to £25 a week to help them heat their homes when it’s really cold, and have paid out over £706m since 2010 on this support.
People who get Pension Credit are automatically paid Cold Weather Payments, and in the cold winter days ahead it’s even more important that older people check if they are entitled so they don’t miss out on Cold Weather Payments. If anyone thinks a family member, a friend or neighbour might be entitled to Pension Credit, I’d encourage them to ask them to get in touch and find out by calling – 0800 99 1234.
Statistics on Cold Weather Payments since 2010, based on Social Fund Annual Reports, are below.
|2010/11||Number of payments||3,757,900||754,800||12,719,500||17,232,200|
|Number of recipients||776,300||182,100||3,110,900||4,069,300|
|2011/12||Number of payments||72,500||124,100||4,970,300||5,166,900|
|Number of recipients||49,600||62,400||3,057,400||3,169,400|
|2012/13||Number of payments||306,600||253,100||5,285,300||5,845,000|
|Number of recipients||133,600||75,700||3,081,500||3,290,800|
Over this period 28,244,100 million payments were made.
The figures for Wales and Scotland only include those from weather stations which cover areas entirely in each of Wales and Scotland respectively; weather station areas which straddle the Wales/England or Scotland/England borders are included in the figures for England, so it is possible they include some under-reporting in Wales and Scotland border regions, and consequent over-reporting for England.
The number of payments and number of individuals are rounded to the nearest 1,000, expenditure figures are rounded to the nearest £100,000.
Information on payments and expenditure against individual weather stations is published each year in the Social Fund Annual Report.
Over 1 million pensioners may be entitled to Pension Credit worth up to £2.8bn (2009/10) who are not claiming it. People can claim Pension Credit, as well as Housing Benefit, in one free phone call on – 0800 99 1234 without the need to sign a form.
Winter Fuel Payments also provide a valuable contribution to help older people with fuel bills in the colder winter months. Winter Fuel Payments are paid to more than 9 million households. The payment is £200 for households with someone over women’s State Pension age and £300 for those with someone aged 80 and over.
Around 2 million households receive assistance each year through the Warm Home Discount scheme; and well over 1 million of the poorest pensioners will receive a discount of £135 off their energy bill in winter 2013/14.
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Scotland (local media enquiries) 0131 310 1122
Media enquiries for this press release – 0203 267 5120
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