3 January 2006
Disabled should get winter fuel payments
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called for the Winter Fuel Allowance to be extended to cover disabled people in most need.
Under current rules, people over 60 years old can claim a winter fuel payment of up to £200 to help cover their fuel bills. Mr Barrett has signed a House of Commons motion calling on the Government to extend this benefit to disabled people who receive the middle or higher rate of disability living allowance care component or the higher rate of the mobility component.
In a statement, John Barrett said:
“There are over a million severely disabled people who simply cannot keep their homes warm enough for fear of high fuel bills. For many of these people, keeping warm is critical to help with the therapy of their disability, including the need for hot water.
“Extending the eligibility of the winter fuel allowance to those disabled people who need the help most would ensure they can properly afford decent heating during the winter months.
“The winter fuel allowance for elderly people has helped, but extending it to the most needy of disabled people should now be high on the government’s agenda.
“I believe the measure of a decent society is how the most vulnerable in that society are treated. With this winter expected to be the coldest for over a decade, it is more important than ever to ensure we do all we can to help those most in need.”
John Barret has signed EDM 276 – WINTER FUEL PAYMENTS FOR SEVERELY DISABLED PEOPLE
That this House notes with concern that, while pensioners over the age of 60 can claim a winter fuel payment, there are 1.27 million severely disabled adults and children under 60 who are not eligible for the payment, many of whom feel the cold intensely and cannot afford to heat their home adequately; and therefore calls on the Government to extend the winter fuel payment to disabled people who receive the middle or higher rate of the disability living allowance care component or the higher rate of the mobility component.