§ Mr. Jim Cunningham
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what discussions he has had with the British pensioners and the trade unions action association regarding the introduction of a supplement to the basic pension during the winter months; and if he will make a statement on his Department's policy on this matter. 
§ Mr. Heald
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has had no discussions with either group.
We have no plans to introduce a supplement to the contributory retirement pension during the winter months. Cold weather payments from the social fund give extra help towards additional heating costs resulting from a sustained period of very cold weather. People in receipt of income support or income-based jobseeker's allowance who have a pensioner premium are eligible. So far this winter, over 5 million payments worth over £43 million have been issued to almost 3 million eligible people.