Economic Situation: Families

Treasury written question – answered on 15th October 2008.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham PPS (Mr Mike O'Brien, Minister of State), Department for Work and Pensions

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer

(1) what steps his Department has taken to assist families in the current economic climate;

(2) what recent steps his Department has taken to assist families in reducing their household bills.

Photo of Stephen Timms Stephen Timms Financial Secretary (HM Treasury) (also in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills)

On 11 September the Government announced a £1 billion package of energy efficiency measures, including at least 50 per cent. off a range of energy saving measures for all households, with 11 million of the most vulnerable households qualifying for these free of charge.

In addition, extra help for the vulnerable this winter will be provided by an increase in cold weather payments, which will triple from £8.50 to £25 for this winter.

On 2 September the Government announced reforms to the support for mortgage interest (SMI) system—which is paid to people on income support, pension credit and income-based jobseeker's allowance to help meet the interest payments on their mortgage—to more accurately reflect the value of people's property and reduce the waiting time before help from SMI is available. The Government will keep this system of support under review.

I also refer the hon. Member to the answer given to his question on 14 July 2008 by the Exchequer Secretary, Hansard, column 140W, and to the answer my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer gave to Dr. Kumar on 17 July 2008, Hansard, column 631W.

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