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Cold Weather Payments (West Yorkshire)

Volume 205: debated on Tuesday 3 March 1992

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11.59 pm

I have great pleasure in presenting this petition which is from the whole of the Bradford metropolitan district and contains signatures from that district. It concentrates on my part of the constituency, the wards of Wyke, Wibsey, Tong, Great Horton, Queensbury and Odsal.

The petition concerns cold weather payments and the criteria which the Government have imposed and which result in great difficulties for pensioners. They are left cold and confused and without adequate and easy means of obtaining payment for the cold weather to provide enough heating.

The petition has been organised by Age Concern and is supported by Labour-controlled Bradford council. Councillors have also expressed their concern about the district being covered by different weather centres, and payments being triggered only when seven freezing days are predicted. That criterion leaves many pensioners cold and vulnerable to hypothermia.

The petition is signed by a good friend of mine, Alice Brown, and reads as follows:
To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled. The Humble Petition of concerned citizens of Bradford, Bingley, Ilkley, Keighley and Shipley in the County of West Yorkshire. Sheweth that great distress is being suffered by the elderly inhabitants of our area during winter months; in particular those two-thirds of our elderly population who are entirely dependent on state benefits and who through poverty cannot afford to keep themselves warm, and for whom the current means of relief such as the Cold Weather Payment scheme are both confusing and inadequate.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that Members of your Honourable House urge Ministers: (a) to carry out an urgent review of all those current means of relief given to the elderly to help with heating costs during winter months, in particular to the cold weather payment scheme.
(b) to consider and implement new proposals which will ensure that no elderly person need suffer from the cold through poverty.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, etc.
I hope that the Government will do this before the election.

To lie upon the Table.