Thousands of elderly Neath residents will struggle with heating this winter as cuts are made to the Winter Fuel Allowance. Neath MP Peter Hain has been contact by constituents who have had their 2011 payment and found that it is substantially less than last year.
“Pensioners have been lied to. They were told that their Winter Fuel payments would not be touched but are finding themselves anywhere between £50 and £100 short from last year.” Said Mr Hain, “With the cost of living going up and the rising cost of fuel, pensioners are struggling to make ends meet and are faced with the impossible decision of choosing to heat their homes or eat.”
Last winter 12,870 households in the Neath constituency are set to receive Winter Fuel Allowance with 2,580 people over the age of eighty receiving the higher £400 payment.
“Despite a pre-election promise to safeguard the payments the Tory led government are trying to get away with it on a technicality by cutting the extra ‘top-up’ payments but it still doesn’t take away from the fact that with rising price pensioners are receiving less help.”
Mr Hain also criticised the Government for not doing enough to reduce energy bills. Energy prices are up twenty percent this year whilst energy companies continue to see their profits soar.
“When in opposition this government talked the talk but are not walking the walk in power instead telling consumers to shop around for lower tariffs. The Government’s message of ‘check, switch, insulate, save’ is galling and an insult to pensioner who have seen their Winter Fuel payments cut and to families working hard as prices rocket.”