HC Deb 26 February 1985 vol 74 cc140-1W
Mr. Patrick Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services whether the choice of a base line of 15.5 deg. C., in the formula used by the Chief Adjudication Officer for calculation of payment of supplementary benefit for fuel in periods of exceptionally severe weather assumes that this is an adequate temperature for a claimant's home.

Mr. Whitney

An outdoor temperature of 15.5 deg. C. is the baseline used by the Meteorological Office from which to calculate an indicator of average temperatures over a period, expressed in "degree days." The trigger points which have been set to determine when claimants in particular parts of the country may be eligible for single payments in periods of exceptionally severe weather are not in any way determined by the baseline upon which degree days are calculated. Moreover, the Chief Adjudication Officer has been advised by the Meteorological Office that, using the baseline of 15.5 deg. C., the proportion by which the actual number of degree days calculated for a period exceeds the mean for that period of the year is a reasonable indicator of how much more fuel than the average for that period is required to heat a building. But that does not imply any judgment about the temperature to which anyone should actually heat their home.

Mr. Winnick

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if it has been decided to allow the single fuel payment for severe weather to be paid for the week ended 24 February; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Whitney

[pursuant to his reply, 25 February 1985, c. 70]: I understand that on the basis of the criteria set out in paragraphs 7426–7459 and appendix 19 of the S Manual — a copy of which is in the Library — the Chief Adjudication Officer has decided to advise local adjudication officers that the "exceptionally severe weather" condition in Supplementary Benefit (Single Payments) Regulation 26 has not been satisfied in any part of Great Britain in the week ending 23 February 1985.