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Winter Fuel Payments: North West Region

Volume 472: debated on Wednesday 20 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an assessment of the adequacy of the winter fuel allowance in light of increasing fuel prices; and if he will make a statement. (181494)

[holding answer 24 January 2008]: Fuel prices rise and fall in response to market conditions. Between 1996-97 and 2005-06 pensioners’ incomes increased by 29 per cent. in real terms, compared with a 15 per cent. real terms increase in utility bills between 1996-97 and 2006.

The winter fuel payment is worth £200 for households with someone aged 60 to 79 and £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over. Winter fuel bills account for around 60 per cent. of the annual fuel bill. The winter fuel payment provides a significant contribution towards the higher cost of winter heating bills covering around half of the average older person’s winter fuel bill.