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Heating Or Eating Appeal

Volume 300: debated on Wednesday 12 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what plans the Government have to contribute to the Heating or Eating Appeal organised by Help the Aged. [15653]

We welcome and support the work of charities in complementing the welfare provision the Government make to vulnerable members of society. The Government are already tackling the problems associated with vulnerable people keeping warm during cold weather. We have already taken action to cut fuel costs and make homes easier to heat. We are committed to examining the means of delivering more automatic help to the poorest pensioners.Social Fund Cold Weather Payments of £8.50 will again be issued automatically to those pensioners in receipt of Income Support, when the average temperature in their area is recorded as, or forecast to be 0°C or below, over seven consecutive days. Last winter, the Cold Weather Payments scheme triggered a total of 125 times, involving 55 of the 70 Meteorological Office weather stations used. Almost five million payments worth over £42 million were issued to an estimated 2.7 million people.