I am pleased to announce that regulations to amend the cold weather payment scheme will be laid later today. The changes will come into force on 1 November this year, in time for the beginning of the winter period.
Following advice from the meteorological office the amendments will introduce four new weather stations to the scheme for winter 2011-12 and withdraw the current stations at Dundrennan, St Catherine’s Point and West Freugh. As a result of the changes the postcodes that are currently linked to the withdrawn stations will be re-assigned to different weather stations. The four new weather stations are:
The new stations have been chosen to maintain weather station to postcode links that are at least as representative as the current arrangement.
I have written to each Member who made representations about the administration of the scheme last winter to make them aware of the advice from the meteorological office.
Cold weather payments are separate from, and in addition to, winter fuel payments.
The amendments resulted from the Department’s annual review of the cold weather payments scheme. The review drew on expert advice from the meteorological office and took account of representations from benefit claimants and Members of Parliament.
For winter 2011-12 the cold weather payment rate will continue to be £25 for each seven-day period of very cold weather.