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Cold Weather Payments Scheme

Volume 550: debated on Tuesday 11 September 2012

I am pleased to announce that later today we intend to lay regulations to amend the cold weather payment scheme. The changes detailed in these regulations 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 one new weather station, Rostherne, to the scheme for winter 2012-13 and withdraw the current station at Woodford. As a result of the changes the postcodes that are currently linked to the withdrawn station will be reassigned to different weather stations.

The new station has been chosen to maintain weather station to postcode links that are at least as representative as the current arrangement.

I am writing 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 2012-13 the cold weather payment rate will continue to be £25 for each seven day period of very cold weather.