I am pleased to announce that, following advice from the Meteorological Office, the annual review of the Cold Weather Payments scheme has now been completed. Amending regulations were laid on 5 October and will come into force on 1 November 2009, in time for the beginning of the winter period.
For winter 2009-10 nine new weather stations will be included as part of the scheme. Consequently, some postcodes from existing weather stations for winter 2008-09 will be redistributed and assigned to the following weather stations: Fylingdales, Gravesend, Leek, Little Rissington, North Wyke, Sheffield, St Bees Head, Stonyhurst, and Strathallan.
The alternative weather stations have been chosen to provide weather station to postcode linkages that are at least as representative as the previous arrangements—the changes are expected to either have a neutral effect or indeed provide a more accurate assessment for those eligible.
I am writing separately to each Member whose constituency will be affected by these changes. I am also writing to each Member who made representations last winter to inform them of the advice from the Meteorological Office.
The amending regulations also provide for the rate of a Cold Weather Payment to remain at £25.00 for winter of 2009-10.
Cold Weather Payments are separate from, and in addition to, Winter Fuel Payments which are paid to eligible people from age 60.