§ Mr. Gregory
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security when he will lay the regulations needed to alter the rules for making cold weather payments this winter in line with his recent statement to the House.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
I refer my hon. Friend to the Social Fund Cold Weather Payments (General) Amendments Regulations 1988 which I have laid before Parliament for this purpose today. These regulations bring forward two significant improvements to the scheme. First, they extend eligibility to families on income support with a child under age five rather than under age two. Secondly, they alter the rules for measuring periods of cold weather so that any spell of seven consecutive days when the temperature averages 0°C or below will trigger a payment.
These changes roughly double the potential for making cold weather payments and are in addition to the improvements announced on 7 October whereby for the first time eligibility was extended to income support pensioners aged 60 to 64 and non-householders receiving income support who fall into the eligible categories.