MP Abrahams urges Oldhamers to check on their neighbours

Date published: 27 February 2018

Oldham East and Saddleworth MP Debbie Abrahams is encouraging people to check in on their neighbours, and anyone who may be vulnerable, as freezing temperatures trigger emergency winter funding across the UK.

The current big freeze has triggered cold weather payments as the temperature is predicted to hover around freezing for the rest of the week.

When the temperature falls below zero for seven consecutive days, people receiving certain social security payments such as pension credit are entitled to an extra ‘Cold Weather Payment’.

Abrahams, who is also Labour’s shadow secretary for work and pensions, said: “Extreme cold isn’t to be underestimated and it hits vulnerable people the hardest. 

"It’s important that these extra funds are being made available to constituents to help them keep warm.

"No-one should ever have to choose between eating and heating. Unfortunately we are seeing  too many instances when people are finding themselves in this position.

"I also ask everyone to keep an eye on their neighbours, particularly anyone they know may be living alone, or have inadequate heating, and spread the word about the cold weather payment.”

Cold weather payments may be available if you receive Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

Payments are made if the average temperature in the area is recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below for seven consecutive days and a payment of £25 is made for each seven day period of very cold weather between the beginning of November and the end of March.

Those eligible will be paid automatically, and do not need to apply for the payment.

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Meanwhile, Abrahams has confirmed that Labour will help the 4,520 households in Oldham East and Saddleworth affected by fuel poverty

Commenting on the issue highlighted by Fuel Poverty Awareness Day last week, Abrahams said: ‘’It’s shocking that in Oldham East and Saddleworth, 4,520 households live in fuel poverty and cannot even afford to heat their homes. 

“Fuel poverty affects over four million households across the UK and energy costs hit the poor and most vulnerable, and those on low incomes, living in energy inefficient homes that are difficult and expensive to heat. 

“Data provided by the Trussell Trust, shows that over 85% of foodbanks in the network felt that people referred to them for emergency food needed support with paying fuel bills.

“The Government's continued failure to tackle our broken energy market means hard-up customers have to pay more while the profits of the Big Six continue to soar. 

“Labour will insulate four million homes as an infrastructure priority to help those who suffer in cold homes each winter, this will cut emissions, improve health, save on bills, and reduce fuel poverty and winter deaths. 

“We will introduce an emergency price cap to ensure that the average bill remains below £1,000 per year, while we transition to a fairer system for bill payers.”