HC Deb 21 January 1982 vol 16 c186W
Mr. Ray Powell

asked the Prime Minister if she will, as a matter of urgency, take steps to ensure that help is given to retirement pensioners, the disabled, the unemployed and others who are unable to pay their heating bills brought about by the recent severe winter conditions.

The Prime Minister

Last week we announced that under the powers which we took in 1980 all supplementary beneficiaries—including pensioners—can apply for a special payment towards the extra fuel costs incurred because of the exceptionally severe weather. Local social security offices have been alerted to deal with the expected claims. Details of the scheme are available in the Library of the House.

Mr. Winnick

asked the Prime Minister if, having particular regard to the recent severe weather conditions, the Government will now introduce a comprehensive scheme to assist those on low incomes, including those receiving rent and rate rebate and rent allowances, but not in receipt of supplementary benefit, to pay their fuel bills; what representations have been made to her over this matter; and if she will make a statement.

The Prime Minister

I have received a number of representations on this subject, but the Government have no plans to introduce a scheme on the lines suggested by the hon. Member. We believe that the resources available should be concentrated on help for those on supplementary benefit who are in the greatest need. The arrangements that we have made were described in the replies on 18 January by my hon. Friend the Minister for Social Security to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Perry Barr (Mr. Rooker)—[Vol. 16, c.64]—and by the Under-Secretary of State to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Golding)—[Vol. 16, c. 61].

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