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EXTEND WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS TO ALL VULNERABLE GROUPS, URGES NATIONAL ENERGY CHARITY

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National Energy Action has called on the government to provide Winter Fuel Payments to all vulnerable groups, as we...
National Energy Action has called on the government to provide Winter Fuel Payments to all vulnerable groups, as well as people over 60.

Those who would benefit from such a move include families with young children, people with disabilities and the chronically sick.

'We estimate the annual cost of extending the Winter Fuel Payment to these households at£300m,' said NEA chief executive William Gillis.

'Half of all fuel-poor households in England are non-pensioner householders; Winter Fuel Payments are a good way of investing in their health and well being through the social security system.'

Winter Fuel Payments were introduced in the winter of 1997 and have risen since then from£50 payment for pensioner households on Income Support (£20 for other pensioner households) to become a universal benefit, with£200 sent automatically to all householders over 60 years of age.

The government will spend more than£1.7bn on Winter Fuel Payments this year.

NEA wishes to see Winter Fuel Payments distributed to the same households that are eligible for Cold Weather Payments, which are made to the poorest and most vulnerable households during periods of exceptionally severe winter weather (see notes for eligibility criteria).

People who are chronically sick; families with young children; persons with disabilities - these groups also need additional support to maintain warm and healthy living environments,' said William Gillis. 'Extending the Winter Fuel Payment to these households could make a significant contribution to making them warmer and healthier during the winter months.'

Notes

1. NEA / British Gas Warm Homes Week (22 November to 2 December 2002) promoted increased investment in energy efficiency as the long-term solution to fuel poverty. The campaign targetted the general public, as well as the country's decision makers, to raise awareness of fuel poverty and the role of improved energy efficiency in alleviating it.

2. Cold Weather Payments are made to the poorest and most vulnerable households during periods of exceptionally severe winter weather. These payments are made to pensioners receiving the Minimum Income Guarantee and to people receiving Income Support or Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance who have children under the age of five or who receive a premium for disability or long-term sickness.

NEA / British Gas Warm Homes Week: 22 November to 2 December 2002

A campaign to cut winter deaths and reduce cold-related illnesses by alerting people to the dangers of fuel poverty and the availability of energy-saving grants for low-income households.

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