I recognise the contribution pensioners have made, and continue to make, to British society. We must ensure that everyone has security and dignity in their retirement. I am encouraged that my colleagues in government have committed to keeping the Winter Fuel Payment, ensuring that older people have the security and dignity they deserve. This means £200 will continue to be paid to households where someone has reached State Pension age and is under age 80, rising to £300 where households contain someone aged 80 and over.
Cold Weather Payments are another element of the support available. A person can qualify for a Cold Weather Payment if they are in receipt of Pension Credit, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit, or Support for Mortgage Interest.
The scheme runs from 1 November to 31 March each year.
The Met Office has assigned each eligible household to one of 94 weather stations that is most representative of their climate, accounting for topography and whether the surrounding areas are urban or rural. If a cold weather payment is triggered at a weather station, the eligible households receive an automatic payment of £25.
There are many other benefits available to pensioners, including free bus passes and free prescriptions. The Warm Home Discount provides over one million vulnerable pensioners with a £140 rebate on their energy bills.
I would also add that as a result of the 'triple lock', the value of the full basic State Pension is now £2,050 more than it was a decade ago. This year, owing to a statistical anomaly as a result of the COVID pandemic, the metric for average earnings cannot be used to calculate the Triple Lock. Therefore, the State Pension is reverting to a Double Lock, whereby it is raised by the highest of inflation or 2.5 per cent. This means pensioners will continue to be protected from any rises in prices. This is a temporary measure, and we will revert to the Triple Lock in 2022.