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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the amount of winter fuel allowance overpaid in each of the last three years; and how much of the sum overpaid has subsequently been repaid. (244908)

Winter fuel payments are made based on a customer's personal circumstances in the qualifying week.

Any overpayment of winter fuel payment is recoverable if it arose in consequence of a misrepresentation of, or failure to disclose a material fact.

Recoverable winter fuel overpayments1

£

Value of winter fuel recoverable overpayments in year

Total value of recoveries in year

2005-06

11,800

12,018

2006-07

98,782

36,277

2007-08

764,271

202,894

Non recoverable winter fuel overpayments1

£

Value of winter fuel non recoverable overpayments in year

Total value of recoveries in year

2005-06

12,725

None

2006-07

7,900

None

2007-08

122,585

None

1 Actual amounts.

Notes:

1. In year recoveries are amounts received against the total debt stock each year and therefore may exceed the amount of payments recorded in any one year.

2. Of £764,271 winter fuel recoverable overpayments recorded in 2007-08 a total of £403,568 related to overpayments from October 2005 to March 2008.

3. Calculation and recovery action was pursued on all cases in accordance with the Overpayments Recovery Guide. Recoveries of £403,568 for the period October 2005 to March 2007 were recorded on an interim Overpayment Recovery System. These were then migrated and brought to account on the Debt Manager system in December 2007 and appear in the figure for 2007-08.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people (a) were eligible for and (b) received cold weather payments in the week commencing 5 January 2009. (249425)

A weather station is said to ‘trigger’ when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0°C or below over seven consecutive days. An eligible customer receives a cold weather payment when the weather station to which the customer’s postcode is linked triggers. The number of customers who were entitled to cold weather payments because of triggers notified in the week commencing 5 January 2009 is estimated to be 2.4 million.

Some customers received two payments based on triggers notified in the week commencing 5 January 2009. This happened if the weather station to which the customer’s postcode is linked triggered once for a ‘recorded’ period of seven consecutive days and once for a ‘forecast’ period of seven consecutive days.

Information oh the number of customers who received payments in that week is not available.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been spent on cold weather payments in respect of the period of cold weather since 25 December 2008, broken down by weather station area. (249441)

The information requested is shown in the following table.

Estimated cold weather payment expenditure in respect of the period of the cold weather from 25 December 2008 to 13 January 2009 by weather station in Great Britain

Weather station

Admin area

Estimated expenditure (£)

Aberporth

Ceredigion

117,500

Albemarle

Northumberland

3,652,500

Andrewsfield

Essex

3,410,000

Aultbea

Highland

0

Aviemore

Highland

40,000

Bedford

Bedfordshire

4,205,000

Bingley

West Yorkshire

8,045,000

Bishopton

Renfrewshire

5,132,500

Boscombe Down

Wiltshire

650,000

Boulmer

Northumberland

0

Braemar

Aberdeenshire

80,000

Brize Norton

Oxfordshire

1,295,000

Cardinham (Bodmin)

Cornwall

335,000

Carlisle

Cumbria

372,500

Cassley

Highland

10,000

Charlwood

West Sussex

2,150,000

Charterhall

Scottish Borders

0

Chivenor

Devon

245,000

Coleshill

Warwickshire

15,515,000

Crosby

Merseyside

6,792,500

Culdrose

Cornwall

0

Dundrennan

Dumfries and Galloway

132,500

Dunkeswell Aerodrome

Devon

2,040,000

Dyce (Aberdeen airport)

Aberdeen

0

Edinburgh Gogarbank

Edinburgh

0

Eskdalemuir

Dumfries and Galloway

320,000

Filton

South Gloucestershire

2,940,000

Heathrow

Greater London

14,585,000

Hereford-Credenhill

Herefordshire

2,660,000

Herstmonceux West End

East Sussex

662,500

High Wycombe

Buckinghamshire

1,060,000

Hum (Bournemouth Airport)

Dorset

1,900,000

Isle of Portland

Dorset

0

Kinloss

Moray

745,000

Kirkwall

Orkney

0

Lake Vyrnwy

Powys

300,000

Leconfield

East Riding of Yorkshire

0

Lerwick

Shetland

0

Leuchars

Fife

1,065,000

Linton on Ouse

North Yorkshire

3,472,500

Liscombe

Somerset

385,000

Loch Glascarnoch

Highland

40,000

Loftus

Redcar and Cleveland

0

Lusa

Highland

17,500

Lyneham

Wiltshire

1,840,000

Machrihanish

Argyll and Bute

0

Manston

Kent

2,727,500

Marham

Norfolk

642,500

Norwich Airport

Norfolk

1,260,000

Nottingham

Nottinghamshire

6,315,000

Pembrey Sands

Carmarthenshire

1,397,500

Plymouth

Plymouth

0

Redesdale

Northumberland

155,000

Rhyl

Denbighshire

835,000

St. Athan

Vale of Glamorgan

1,457,500

St. Catherine’s Point

Isle of Wight

0

Salsburgh

North Lanarkshire

377,500

Scilly St. Mary

Isles of Scilly

0

Sennybridge

Powys

3,375,000

Shap

Cumbria

245,000

Shawbury

Shropshire

3,235,000

South Famborough

Hampshire

3,020,000

Stomoway Airport

Western Isles

0

Thorney Island

West Sussex

2,825,000

Tiree

Argyll and Bute

0

Trawsgoed

Ceredigion

170,000

Tulloch Bridge

Highland

110,000

Valley

Anglesey

0

Waddington

Lincolnshire

2,250,000

Walney Island

Cumbria

0

Wattisham

Suffolk

2,730,000

West Freugh

Dumfries and Galloway

0

Wick Airport

Highland

0

Wittering

Peterborough

1,410,000

Woodford

Greater Manchester

10,430,000

Yeovilton

Somerset

1,370,000

Great Britain

132,550,000

Notes:

1. The admin area gives the location of each weather station, not the area which is linked to the weather station. For example, Heathrow weather station covers almost all of Greater London, but not all of it, and some areas outside Greater London are linked to Heathrow weather station.

2. The estimates of expenditure are the most recently available, but they are only estimates.

3. The estimates of expenditure have been rounded to the nearest £2,500 (as they are based on estimates of the number of eligible benefit units rounded to the nearest 100 and the payment per week of cold weather is £25).

Sources:

1. Admin areas for weather stations: the Met Office, October 2008.

2. Estimated expenditure: analysis of a scan of benefit recipients eligible for cold weather payments taken at the end of October 2008 and departmental records of triggers.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioner households will receive the extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment in (a) January, (b) February and (c) March 2009; and whether these households will be informed when they can expect to receive the payment. (253625)

There is no extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment. However, there is an additional £60 payment to the Christmas bonus.

Around 12.5 million Christmas bonus recipients are pensioners. It is not possible to determine from the system generated payments the precise number of pensioners who have been paid the additional Christmas bonus as eligibility for the payment is not based on age. However out of the 12.2 million payments issued by 9 February we estimate that over 90 per cent. were to people of pension age.

The remaining pensioners, paid by a different computer system, are due to receive their payments by the end of February with exceptionally some clerical payments after 15 March 2009.

The table sets out the payment schedule for the additional £60 for all entitled customers including pensioners.

Actual and forecasted volumes for additional £60 payment

Volume payments to be made

Percentage of forecasted total

1 January 2009 to 15 January 2009

12,175,120

81.94

16 January 2009 to 31 January 2009

41,630

0.28

1 February 2009 to 15 February 2009

49,390

0.33

16 February 2009 to 28 February 2009

1,302,100

8.76

1 March 2009 to 15 March 2009

1,289,700

8.69

16 March 2009 to 31 March 2009

10

0

1 Exceptionally some payments may be issued clerically after 15 March 2009

Notes:

1. All payment figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

2. As of 9 February 2009 DWP have issued 12,231,904 payments.

3. The total volume of payments forecast to be made is 14,857,929.

Source:

Special Payment Programme weekly review document 11 February 2009.

A series of newspaper advertisements were published in the week of 5 January to alert all recipients of the Christmas bonus to the additional £60 payments and to explain that payments would be made between January and March 2009.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioner households in each constituency are entitled to receive the extra £60 winter fuel allowance payment. (253626)

The extra £60 is an increase in the Christmas bonus payment not the winter fuel payment. It is not possible to provide the number of pensioner households in receipt of the Christmas bonus as the Christmas bonus is paid according to an individual’s eligibility.

However, I have placed in the Library information on the approximate number of individual pensioners in each constituency eligible to receive the extra £60 Christmas bonus payment.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many complaints his Department has received regarding incorrect winter fuel payments in each of the last five years. (255976)

In winter 2008-09 we made over 12 million winter fuel payments to over 8.5 million households. The answer is in the following table.

Complaints regarding incorrect winter fuel payments for the past five years

Number

2004

330

2005

613

2006

527

2007

415

2008

464

Total

2,349

Source:

CDC Respond