[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.