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Fuel Bills (Poor Persons)

Volume 928: debated on Monday 21 March 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Energy how many persons so far have benefited from his Department's scheme to pay 25 per cent. of fuel bills for persons on supplementary benefit; what has been the total cost so far to public funds; and what percentage of those helped were retirement pensioners.

Claims from about 290,000 households at a cost to public funds of just under £2 million have so far been reported to Departments. This is less than I would have expected at this stage. It is not possible to say how many claims came from retirement pensioners but some 60 per cent. of recipients of supplementary benefit who are eligible for the discount are in this category. I am most anxious that everyone eligible for the discount should claim. Claims should be made as soon as possible after the electricity bill arrives or the prepayment meter box is emptied.