Cold Weather Payments: Guide to government-run scheme
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Cold spells will no doubt cause concern for many, due to the increased energy costs which will likely be incurred. The Cold Weather Payment scheme is among a number of measures intended to help people during this time – with another being the Winter Fuel Payment.
If a Cold Weather Payment is triggered, eligible people living in the particular area can get a £25 payment to help with their living costs.
This payment is for each seven day period of very cold weather.
The scheme runs between November 1 and March 31, so it’s only possible to get payments for during this time.
Sub-zero temperatures have been experienced across the UK this winter.
Not only does a person need to be eligible to get the Cold Weather Payment, but they also need to live within a triggered postcode.
New figures have been released today, as the DWP updated official statistics on this winter’s scheme.
The data shows there has so far been 118 triggers in the 2020 to 2021 winter.
This includes 2,374,000 payments in the first six weeks of 2021.
Analysis by Uswitch.com has found this contrasts with zero payments in the same period in 2020, 1,084,000 in 2019, and 99,000 in 2018 — the year of The Beast From The East.
The payments are made automatically to eligible households within 14 working days after the period of very cold weather.
This period is defined as being when the temperature at the relevant weather station is either recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees celsius or below over seven consecutive days.
This winter, conditions have been triggered seven times each in Tulloch Bridge, Loch Glascarnoch, and Braemar — all in Scotland.
Redesdale, Northumberland, has met the criteria six times, while places as far south as Bedford, and Boscombe Down, Wiltshire, have also been activated.
Will Owen, energy expert at Uswitch.com, said: “These figures show how many people are battling through freezing temperatures at a time when many household budgets are already stretched to the limit.
“Cold Weather Payments help many vulnerable people to keep the heating on when they might not be able to afford it, and they are more valuable than ever this year.”
Mr Owen also shared some tips on how people – regardless of whether they’re eligible for the payment – can try to keep warm this winter, and potentially even save themselves money.
“There are plenty of ways you can act to keep warm when the mercury plunges, including bleeding your radiators regularly to prevent them getting cold spots, and keeping obstructions such as sofas away from them, as the objects will absorb the heat,” he said.
“Draught-proofing is another quick and cost effective way to warm up your home and you can even save around £20 per year on your utility bills.
We recommend fitting door seals between the door itself and the frame, and for gaps between the bottom of the door and the floor, you can buy a special ‘brush’ or hinged flap draught excluder.”
Layering up, wearing slippers and covering extremities to heat up one’s joints is another tip which the energy expert recommended.
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