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Winter Fuel Payments

Volume 622: debated on Wednesday 14 February 2001

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asked Her Majesty's Government:What representations they have had from

Disability Now in relation to winter fuel payments to severely disabled people under the age of 60; what reply they are sending; and whether they will be taking any action. [HL524]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Social Security
(Baroness Hollis of Heigham)

The Secretary of State received a letter from the editor of Disability Now, dated 19 December. A reply was sent on 30 January.The letter urged the Government to extend the winter fuel payment scheme to severely disabled people under 60 who are receiving the middle or higher rate of the disability living allowance care component, or the higher rate of the mobility component.Winter fuel payments were introduced as part of our commitment to alleviate fuel poverty by providing help to older households towards their winter fuel bills. Information from the 1996–97 English Housing Conditions Survey shows that around 50 per cent of all fuel-poor households contain someone aged 60 or over.For younger disabled people, disability living allowance provides a contribution towards the extra costs associated with disability. The care and mobility needs entitlement criteria to the benefit are used as broad indicators of all the extra costs, including heating costs, that a disabled person may have. The disability premium in income-related benefits is paid in recognition that the poorest disabled people need additional help. Disabled people are free to use either of these benefits to pay for additional heating costs.