To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the cost of extending the winter fuel payment scheme to disabled people under 60 years who are in receipt of (a) the middle or higher rate care component and (b) the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance in each of the next five years.
Winter fuel payments were created to give pensioners reassurance that they can afford to heat their homes in winter. It is paid in a lump sum each winter to ensure that money is available when fuel bills arrive.
Help is already available through disability benefits and the disability premium in income-related benefits in recognition of the extra costs, including heating, which disabled people may have. The extra heating needs of disabled people by and large, arise all year round, not just in the winter months.
The following table details the estimated cost of extending winter fuel payments to individuals in receipt of some combination of the higher or middle rate care component of DLA and/or the higher rate mobility component of DLA or one of these components on its own.
|All under 60 (including children)||2008-09 prices (£ million)|
|Total cost in each year|
|Total cost over five years||1,435|
| Notes: |
1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 5 million.
2. Figures are consistent with Budget 2008 Expenditure Forecasts.
3. Figures are based on DLA liveload forecasts for GB which include some cases where the DLA payment is suspended.
4. Figures above include claimants aged under 60 (including children) with high/middle care and/or high mobility component.
5. It is assumed that each claimant is the sole qualifier in the household and is awarded a winter fuel payment of £200. This is likely to over-estimate the total cost as it does not account for any shared payments.
6. Costs in 2008-09 prices fall over time under the assumption of the winter fuel payment being fixed in cash terms.