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Pensioners: Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Government has spent on help for pensioners with fuel bills in each year since 1991. (250734)

The Government have implemented a number of measures to assist older people with their fuel bills, including winter fuel payments and cold weather payments.

Information relating to the expenditure on winter fuel payments and cold weather payments is provided in the following tables.

£ million

Expenditure on winter fuel payments (GB)

Expenditure on cold weather payments (GB)1

1991-92

n/a

23

1992-93

n/a

15

1993-94

n/a

12

1994-95

n/a

2

1995-96

n/a

62

1996-97

n/a

42

1997-98

191

1

1998-99

194

2

1999-2000

759

1

2000-01

1,749

30

2001-02

1,681

15

2002-03

1,705

14

2003-04

1,916

4

2004-05

1,962

2

2005-06

1,982

8

2006-07

2,015

3

2007-08

2,071

4

1 Figures for winter fuel payments are for people aged 60 and over. Figures for cold weather payments are the total expenditure paid to all client groups. It is not possible to split cold weather payment expenditure between pensioners and others. For 2008-09, the proportion of benefit units eligible for cold weather payments which included a pensioner is 63 per cent. (Source: based on analysis of Quarterly Statistical Enquiries and Tax Credit data.)

2 Amount below £0.5 million.

Source:

DWP Accounting Data

This year the winter fuel payment has increased from £200 to £250 for households with someone aged 60-79 and from £300 to £400 for households with some aged 80 or over.

This year there is also a temporary increase in cold weather payments from £8.50 to £25.

Since 1997, VAT on fuel and power dropped from 8 per cent. to 5 per cent. This reduced a typical customer's bill by around £16 per year at a cost to the Government of £450 million per year.

Since 2000 the Government have spent £1.85 billion on the warm front scheme which provides grants to help people on low incomes, including pensioners, with energy efficiency measures.