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Cost of Living: Pensioners

Volume 742: debated on Monday 18 December 2023

More than 8 million pensioner households will receive a £300 payment this winter to top up their winter fuel allowance payment. The 1.4 million pensioners currently in receipt of pension credit may also receive cost of living payments totalling up to £900 in 2023-24.

In Southport we have a significant number of pensioners who, having lost their partners, now face the added challenge of managing increased living costs alone. Can the Minister kindly elaborate on what specific initiatives or support mechanisms are in place to assist people in those financially difficult circumstances, to ensure that they get the support they deserve?

Anyone who suffers a bereavement at any time will potentially be in severe financial difficulties. I direct my hon. Friend to the funeral expenses payment, which is part of the social fund. I would also point to the wider measures that we have taken, such as applying the triple lock—there will be an 8.5% increase in the state pension next year. We will also include cost of living payments in the winter fuel payment, of £500 or £600, depending on the age of the recipient.

Despite the welcome fall in inflation, my constituent Deborah Garrard speaks for herself and many pensioners who are concerned about a second winter of high fuel prices. Will my hon. Friend outline what further measures the Department is considering to help reduce pensioners’ financial burden?

I know that Mrs Garrard will not be the only older resident in the country concerned about energy prices this winter. I just mentioned the increased cost of living payment that we are adding to the winter fuel payment. In addition, we have increased the warm home discount to up to £150, and there is a whole suite of cold weather payments that can be made in the event of seven days of sustained cold weather. We have a wide range of measures to help support people when faced with cold weather and high energy costs.