HC Deb 15 October 2002 vol 390 c645W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when and how the announcement to pay winter fuel payments to some people who have moved to a country within the European Economic Area was made; what steps his Department is taking to contact people who may be affected by the change; and what estimate has been made of the(a) annual and (b) one-off costs of the policy. [74711]

Mr. McCartney

I refer the hon. Member to the written answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Caerphilly (Mr. David) on 19 July 2002,Official Report, column 599w. The changes were publicised through a press release issued by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to the media in relevant countries in Europe. In addition, we have taken steps to ensure that this information is available on the Department's website and in the new edition of the Winter Fuel Payment leaflet, and have issued a factsheet to embassies in those countries affected. We will also be writing to people who have contacted the European Commission, claimed or recently enquired about Winter Fuel Payment for people who have moved to another EEA country or to Switzerland.

We estimate the ongoing cost to be around £10 million and the one-off cost to be around £3 million.