Winter Fuel Payments

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 6th April 2010.

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Photo of Steve Webb Steve Webb Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to Budget 2010, HC 451, if she will estimate the saving to the Exchequer in each of the next five years of increasing the age of entitlement to winter fuel payments to 65 years.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

Following a European Court of Justice Judgment in December 1999, the winter fuel payment scheme was extended to all those aged 60 and over.

The requested information is in the following table:

Savings (2009-10 price terms)
£ million
2010-11 600
2011-12 420
2012-13 340
2013-14 270
2014-15 220
Notes:

1. Expenditure for GB only, rounded to the nearest £10 million.

2. The European Court of Justice ruled that, by not paying winter fuel payments to men aged 60 to 64, but paying eligible women from age 60, the scheme was discriminatory. The ruling was applied from the beginning of the scheme, the winter of 1997-98.

3. Savings are modelled using current policy of increasing age of entitlement to winter fuel payments to 65 by 2020, against a scenario if age entitlement to winter fuel payments was increased to 65 immediately in each of the next five financial years. Modelling assumes anyone 60-64 currently receiving winter fuel payment would no longer receive it.

4. A winter fuel payment of £250 per household is modelled for 2010-11. For subsequent years a winter fuel payment of £200 per household is modelled.

5. Savings are for each financial year and become smaller as the age of entitlement increases with current policy. The drop in savings from 2010-11 to 2011-12 is also due to the decrease in winter fuel payment amounts assumed.

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