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Winter Fuel Payment

Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many qualifying former UK residents living in (a) Greece, (b) Spain, (c) Italy, (d) Malta, (e) Cyprus and (f) Portugal have been in receipt of the winter fuel payments allowance in each year since 1997; and at what cost to public funds. (105813)

Since 2002, following discussions with the European Commission about the effect of Community law, winter fuel payments are made to eligible former UK residents living elsewhere in the European Economic Area or Switzerland provided they qualified for a winter fuel payment before leaving the UK. Although in some cases payments may be made for years before 2002, a separate breakdown of payments for the earlier years is not available. Information from 2002-03 is in the following tables.

Greece

£000

Payments made

Cost

2002-03

65

11

2003-04

150

26

2004-05

295

51

2005-06

480

85

Spain

£000

Payments made

Cost

2002-03

5,165

808

2003-04

10,390

1,625

2004-05

17,010

2,754

2005-06

21,355

3,486

Italy

£000

Payments made

Cost

2002-03

95

16

2003-04

200

33

2004-05

415

75

2005-06

590

106

Malta

£000

Payments made

Cost

2004-05

265

38

2005-06

415

69

Cyprus

£000

Payments made

Cost

2004-05

1,395

188

2005-06

2,180

349

Portugal

£000

Payments made

Cost

2002-03

105

17

2003-04

255

43

2004-05

475

80

2005-06

720

120

Notes:

1. The figures for the years 2002-03 and 2003-04 include only automated payments. These account for the great majority of payments made. Figures for clerical payments made in these years are not available broken down by country. However clerical payments are included in the figures from 2004-05.

2. Malta and Cyprus joined the European Union and therefore became part of the European Economic Area in May 2004. Winter fuel payments could be paid to eligible former UK residents living in these countries from winter 2004-05. The figures for winter 2004-05 include some payments made for earlier years where entitlement had been established but not paid prior to leaving the UK.

3. Figures for payments made are rounded to the nearest five and figures for costs are rounded to the nearest 1,000.