Wales' Winter Fuel Payments Benefit Wiped Out by Energy Price Rises

2008 Ionawr 9 12:00 AM

The Liberal Democrats today highlighted figures showing that recent rises in gas and electricity prices have completely wiped out the value of the Winter Fuel Payment.

Figures from the House of Commons Library show that:

• For a typical pensioner household (aged 65-74) with gas central heating, gas bills have gone up by £260pa and electricity by £160pa - a total of £420

• For a typical pensioner household (aged over 75) gas bills are up £200pa and electricity bills up £150pa - a total of £350

• The value of the Winter Fuel Payment per household for those aged 60-79 is £200, and £300 for those aged over 80

• The £300 rate for the over 80s was introduced in the winter of 2003/04 and hasn't risen since.

Commenting, Jenny Willott, Welsh Liberal Democrat MP for Cardiff Central, said:

"The recent energy price rises have completely wiped out the winter fuel payment for the elderly and disabled in Wales.

"Pensioners across Wales are effectively watching their money evaporate by paying a fortune to heat draughty houses.

"It is equally outrageous that some energy companies are getting away with charging the poorest in Wales extortionate sums of money just because they use pre-payment meters rather than paying energy bills via direct debit.

"The Government has a unique opportunity in the Energy Bill tomorrow to do a great deal to ensure that pensioners and the poorest households in Wales don't have to make a choice between heating and eating on cold winter days.

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