§ Mr. Willetts
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people(a) have been eligible for a winter fuel payment and (b) have received a winter fuel payment, including those eligible for backdated payments, in each year since 1997. 
§ Maria Eagle
Winter fuel payments were issued automatically to around 10 million people receiving certain social security benefits for each of the winters 1997–98, 1998–99 and 1999–2000. Following the extension of the entitlement conditions to most people aged 60 and over, regardless of whether they were receiving a social security benefit, around 1.1 million further payments covering one, two or all three of these years have been issued following successful claims. It is not possible to relate these payments to specific years.
In excess of 11.1 million payments were issued for winter 2000–01. Figures for winter 2001–02 are not yet available but are expected to he similar.
The vast majority of those eligible in each year since 1997 have received payment.