Work and Pensions written question – answered on 8th December 2004.

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Photo of Mr Brian Cotter Mr Brian Cotter Shadow Minister (Trade & Industry), Trade & Industry, Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what action he is taking to improve the take-up of benefits available to older people to prevent winter deaths caused by fuel poverty.

Photo of Malcolm Wicks Malcolm Wicks Minister for pensions, Department for Work and Pensions

Winter fuel payments are one of several measures in place to help alleviate fuel poverty. The majority of payments are made automatically without the need to claim. People who have not previously received a payment and who do not receive a Social Security benefit other than child benefit, housing benefit or council tax benefit must claim. Every effort is made to try and contact those who are newly eligible. For those people who do need to make a claim an extensive publicity campaign is carried out. This begins three months before the qualifying week in September and continues to the end of March. The campaign includes advertisements in national and local press, a leaflet and poster made available in a variety of venues, a dedicated winter fuel payment helpline and information on the internet.

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