Labour offers real help to most vulnerable as cold snap hits Cumbria

Eric MartlewAs the cold snap hits Cumbria, over 20 thousand of the County's most vulnerable people and pensioners will receive the highest ever Cold Weather Payment.

The Cold Weather Payment, which has been trebled by the Government this year from £8.50 to £25 a week, is paid out every time the average temperature at a weather station falls, or is forecast to fall, to 0ºC or below for seven consecutive days.

Since the cold snap has hit local weather stations in Carlisle and Shap the estimated number of people across Cumbria eligible for the payments is 20241.

Carlisle’s Labour MP, Eric Martlew, welcomed the £25.00 cold weather payments, He said,

"When the temperature goes down no one should be afraid to turn up the thermostat - thankfully this cash boost will make a real difference to people in Carlisle who are worried about their fuel bills".

James Purnell, Labour’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said:

“The Labour Government is determined to do everything we can to help people make ends meet, particularly during the winter when they may be worried about their fuel bills. After the recent cold snap, millions of people will receive this extra money which is real help when they most need it.

"Whereas the Tories are saying we should do nothing to help people in these tough times, over the last year we have announced extra help for vulnerable people on low incomes and pensioners and these cold weather payments are the latest example of that.”


Editors’ notes:

The Cold Weather Payments are £25 for each spell of very cold weather in an area for Winter 2008/09.

Payments are made automatically to those who qualify when the average temperature at a weather station falls, or is forecast to fall, to 0ºC or below for seven consecutive days. There is no need to claim.

Those eligible to receive Cold Weather Payments are pensioners, severely disabled people and families with a child under five or a severely disabled child, receiving the following benefits:
• Pension Credit.
• Income Support.
• Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
• Income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

The local weather stations are Carlisle where the temperature has been recorded to be sub-zero between 27.12.08 – 02.01.09 and Shap, where the temperature is forecast to be sun-zero between 05.01.09 – 11.01.09.

As of Monday, payouts had been triggered at 48 of the country’s 76 weather stations. This means that 3.7m payments will be made totalling £93 million across Britain.

The Labour Government is this year spending an extra £575 million on winter fuel payments for pensioners, with £250 for those in households with someone 60 or over, and £400 for those with someone 80 and above.