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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 488: debated on Wednesday 25 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households with more than (a) £100,000 and (b) £200,000 annual income were in receipt of a winter fuel payment in the most recent year for which figures are available. (255975)

Winter fuel payments were designed to give older people reassurance that they could turn up their heating in winter. Eligibility is not based on income. The winter fuel payment for 2008-09 is £250 for households with someone aged 60-79, and £400 for households with someone aged 80 and over.

Information based on the Department's Family Resources Survey, shows that in 2006-07, winter fuel payments were made to less than 50,000 households with net income before housing costs of more than £100,000 per annum. Higher up the income distribution, clearly, the number is less than that. 2006-07 is the latest year for which information is available.

50,000 households represents less than 0.5 per cent. of all households where at least one adult is aged 60 and over.

Net income before housing costs is gross income less income tax payments, national insurance contributions, contributions to occupational and private pension schemes, local taxes, maintenance and child support payments, and parental contributions to children living away from home.