Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cold Weather Pay Cut to Hit Pensioners; Payment to Be Cut by Two Thirds to Pounds 8.50

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cold Weather Pay Cut to Hit Pensioners; Payment to Be Cut by Two Thirds to Pounds 8.50

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

COLD weather payments to pensioners are the latest benefit set to go as the coalition Government finalises its historic cuts programme . The pounds 25-a-week payment triggered when the weather falls below zero is set to be reduced to just pounds 8.50 after the Government failed to introduce paperwork needed to secure the fund.

Pensioners have warned the two thirds reduction in emergency payments will leave many facing the choice of either paying for their heating or paying for their food.

Labour MPs have criticised the "shambles" surrounding a statutory instrument laid before the Commons on Monday that failed to include a clause that specifically raised the payment to pounds 25.

Conservative House of Commons leader Sir George Young said the rate would become clear after Chancellor George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review on Wednesday.

The threatened cuts have prompted warnings from pensioners' groups that the coalition could be punished for the cuts at the ballot box.

Sean Fahey, secretary of the North East Pensioners' Association, said last night: "The people who receive this money are getting it because they need it, it is not an easy cut.

"To take up to two thirds away is akin to handing pensioners the choice of either eating or heating, and many will of the most vulnerable pensioners will simply choose to pay for food with what money they have and go without the heating. …

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