Cuts Watch #283: Cold Weather Payments?
During PMQs, the Prime Minister has today failed to provide an assurance that Cold Weather Payments will be retained at the rate of £25 a week (their value for the last two years). Direct Gov is still reporting that the £25 a week rate will be paid this winter. Should this rate be reduced, those entitled (broadly speaking, only the poorest households in the UK) will have less than a month to plan for the amendment.These payments are made to low income and vulnerable households (specific eligibility criteria here) when the average temperature in their local area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees Celsius or below over seven consecutive days during the period from 1 November to 31 March. In 2008/09 and 2009/10 the payments were increased from a flat rate of £8.50 to £25, in recognition of increased fuel costs. The CPI index for fuel shows that prices have risen since last year. A cut could therefore be hard for the Government to justify.