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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 461: debated on Tuesday 12 June 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the implications of changes in energy prices for the level of the winter fuel allowance. (141261)

The winter fuel payment is a significant contribution to winter fuel bills which account for around 60 per cent. of the year’s total fuel bill. It has risen from £20 to £200 from winter 2000-01 and to £300 for people aged 80 or over from winter 2003-04.

Fuel prices are volatile, and can fall as well as rise. Although fuel prices have risen since 2003 this follows a period of no change between 1997 and 2003, and following recent falls in wholesale gas prices, companies are now starting to announce reductions in retail prices. It would not be sensible for the rate of winter fuel payments to track the upward and downward movement of fuel prices.