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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 474: debated on Tuesday 1 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the winter fuel allowance was worth, expressed as a percentage of (a) average fuel bills and (b) average pensioner fuel bills in each of the last 10 years for which information is available, broken down by region. (185891)

The winter fuel payment is intended to provide a contribution towards winter heating bills which account for around 60 per cent. of the total annual fuel bill. The payment provides a significant contribution to these higher winter costs. Winter fuel payments have increased from £20 in 1997-98 to the current value of £200 for households with someone aged 60 to 79 years of age, and £300 for households with someone aged 80 or over.

Next winter, 2008-09, a one-off additional payment will be made. Households with someone aged 60 to 79 will receive an extra £50 giving them £250 and households with someone aged 80 or over will receive an extra £100 giving them £400.

The following table shows the winter fuel payment as a percentage of average winter fuel bills for all households, by region. Information relating to pensioner household expenditure on fuel broken down by region is not available. Obviously these figures will be significantly affected by the Budget announcement.

Year and rate of winter fuel payment (WFP)

1997-98

1998-99

1999-2000

2000-01

2001-02

2002-03

2003-04

2003-04

2004-05

2004-05

2005-06

2005-06

Region

£20

£20

£100

£200

£200

£200

£200

£300

£200

£300

£200

£300

WFP as a percentage of average winter fuel bill for all households

North East

5

6

27

57

53

55

56

84

56

84

54

81

North West

5

5

26

54

56

55

55

83

54

81

51

76

Yorkshire and the Humber

5

6

27

56

59

58

58

87

54

81

51

76

East Midlands

5

6

27

55

55

53

54

81

53

80

52

78

West Midlands

5

5

26

53

55

56

56

84

55

82

51

76

East of England

6

6

28

58

54

55

54

81

53

79

50

74

London

6

6

29

59

61

61

59

89

57

86

53

80

South East

6

6

28

57

53

55

54

81

54

81

51

76

South West

6

6

29

57

55

53

53

80

53

79

51

76

Wales

5

5

25

53

54

54

53

79

50

76

48

72

Scotland

5

5

25

52

53

52

52

78

50

76

48

71

Notes:

1. From winter 2003-04 the winter fuel payment increased to 300 for people aged 80 or over.

2. The percentage figures in the tables are based on an average of all households expenditure on fuel, by region.

Source:

Family Spending Surveys 2002-03 to 2005-06.