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Cold Weather Payments are not delivering what they’re designed for - Independent Age

George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing | Independent Age

2 min read

Cold Weather Payments should be there to support vulnerable older people and not give them extra worries, says George McNamara, Director of Policy and Influencing at Independent Age.


Cold Weather Payments are a huge help for many older people, but they’re not delivering what they’re designed for. Around one million older people are suffering from fuel poverty and recent energy price hikes make it even tougher to heat their homes. Older people aren’t turning up the heating when it’s cold as they have no idea if the freezing temperatures will continue for seven days in order for them to be eligible for the payout. Older people spend more time at home and need to know in advance they can afford to keep themselves warm during severe cold weather.

Cold Weather Payments should be there to support vulnerable older people and not give them extra worries. The Government needs to ensure that the people who need Cold Weather Payments are receiving them when they need them.

Here is some supporting information that may be of interest:

  • Many older people live in poor quality housing with inadequate insulation, meaning they are suffering from cold weather above the level that would trigger Cold Weather Payments
  • Independent Age’s 2018 report, Unsuitable, insecure and substandard homes: The barriers faced by older private renters, showed that 11.4% of older people living in privately rented accommodation felt that their home was too cold in winter, compared to just 3.5% of homeowners

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