Winter Fuel Payments

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 13th March 2007.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent assessment he has made of the level of winter fuel payments in relation to the cost of energy; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Purnell James Purnell Minister of State (Pensions Reform), Department for Work and Pensions

The winter fuel payment is a significant contribution to winter fuel bills which account for around 60 per cent. of the year's total fuel bill. It has risen from £20 to £200 from winter 2000-01 and to £300 for people aged 80 or over from winter 2003-04. These increases have been at a significantly higher rate than inflation. Fuel prices do fluctuate and although fuel prices have risen since 2003, this follows a period of no change between 1997 to 2003. Companies are now starting to announce price reductions in their retail tariffs to domestic customers following recent falls in wholesale gas prices.

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