§ Mrs. Castle
asked the Secretary of State for Energy what publicity he has given to the arrangements for the coming winter's fuel payments scheme.
§ Mr. Cartwright
asked the Secretary of State for Energy how he proposes to publicise the availability of the electricity discount scheme for needy customers.
§ Dr. John Cunningham
The publicity campaign planned for the scheme will begin on 10th December and run throughout the winter. It will be the largest yet undertaken for the scheme and some £375,000 has been allocated to it. Of this £250,000 is for advertising in the national press and the remainder is for publicity material including posters and leaflets.
From Monday next— 11th December—a leaflet giving full details about the scheme will be available at post offices, electricity showrooms, social security offices, unemployment benefit offices, local authority offices, citizens advice bureaux and the offices of a number of voluntary organisations. This explains how to get help offered by the scheme and provides answers to a number of questions about it. Local authorities are also sending an explanatory letter and certificate to all recipients of rate and rent rebate or rent allowance, to enable them to claim the discount on electricity board bills. The £5 payment to people receiving supplementary benefit or family income supplement will be made automatically in the week beginning 22nd January 1979, and 468W does not have to be claimed. Advertisements about the scheme will appear in the national press from next week and at intervals throughout its period of operation. The scheme starts on 1st January, but information about it is being made available at an early date to help people understand how to claim a discount before the qualifying electricity bills start to arrive. I have arranged for copies of the explanatory literature about the scheme to be placed in the Library of the House. Separate announcements will be made about the arrangements for the operation of the scheme in Scotland and Northern Ireland.