“It’s unfair that some people seem to be missing out on payments” - Call for review into Cold Weather Payments

The Chief Executive for Age UK in Calderdale has urged the government to review the process for allocating cold weather payments.

Cold Weather Payments are a government benefit top-up to help with fuel bills during times of exceptional cold weather.

To qualify, you must already be eligible for one of five benefits and fulfil additional criteria outlined on the government website.

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Each payment is paid for a seven-day period and is worth £25.

The scheme covers the time between November 1 and March 31.

It has been reported that the payments have been triggered in parts of Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds from the Bingley station which records temperatures for West Yorkshire.

Postcodes with HD6, including in Brighouse, haven’t received a payment because that postcode is recorded at a station in South Yorkshire.On Smith House Lane in Lightcliffe, there are houses with a HX postcode on one side and HD6 on the other, so only half the street gets the payment.

Lisa Butland, from Age UK, said: “Older people are much more vulnerable to the issues colder weather can bring so benefits, such as the cold weather payment, are essential for when the temperature is consistently low.

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“It’s unfair that some people seem to be missing out on payments depending on their postcode, yet their neighbours have been receiving the money.

“The Department for Work and Pensions needs to review how temperatures are being recorded to ensure nobody misses out on this vital support.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Resilience, Coun Scott Patient, said: “The weather stations used to determine Cold Weather Payments are assigned by the Government based on a Met Office assessment of which station best suits the climate of that area. As a result, weather station boundary areas are based on postcode data which can occasionally cause difficulties, like the situation in Lightcliffe.

“We understand this must be frustrating for those residents who receive differing payment to their neighbours, but this process is managed by the government’s Department for Work and Pensions, not the Council.

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“We know that this is a difficult time for many. With more people spending more time at home due to COVID restrictions, some people are struggling with energy bills. Calderdale Council is committed to helping lower-income households make their homes healthier, warmer and cheaper to heat and have a range of heating and insulation schemes available for residents.

“We also recommend that everyone visits www.calderdale.gov.uk/warmhomes for the Top 10 tips for keeping your home warm.  More information about the various grant funding schemes to make energy efficiency improvement works to homes is also available at https://www.betterhomesyorkshire.co.uk/.

“A DWP spokesperson said: “The Cold Weather Payment scheme operates by mapping each postcode district to one of 95 Met Office weather stations, based on Met Office advice. Areas that are near to one another can fall into different postcode districts and will not always be eligible for CWPs at the same time.

“Each year we review the scheme and seek expert advice from the Met Office, taking into account representations from MPs and the public and other help is available via Winter Fuel Payments and the Warm Home Discount Scheme.”

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Age UK in Calderdale can offer free advice on how to keep warm during winter; free benefits checks; free home energy checks and can even install free energy equipment such as draught excluders, radiator panels and light bulbs.

To make an enquiry call 01422 262015.

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