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Fuel Poverty

Volume 465: debated on Thursday 25 October 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department is taking to tackle long-term fuel poverty. (160362)

The Department for Work and Pensions is working closely with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform, the energy industry, and the voluntary sector to tackle fuel poverty in the UK. Warm Front grants, benefit entitlement checks and the reduction of VAT on fuel has helped many customers not only have an increase in benefit, but also more energy efficient homes which result in lower fuel bills.

The Department is responsible for the winter fuel payment which pays most households £200 where someone is over 60, and £300 if the household includes someone aged 80 or over. In addition, Pension credit is playing a major roll in delivering substantial increases in income to pensioners with only modest savings or occupational pensions. The Pension Service Local Service carry out a benefit check as part of their interviews and refer customers to Warm Front if appropriate.

The Department is also assisting in the reduction in fuel poverty through its work in tackling child poverty. By promoting the Government aim to provide employment opportunities for all, with work for those that can and support for those who cannot, Jobcentre Plus has assisted in the significant reduction of children in low-income households.