Below is the text of Mr Major’s written Parliamentary Answer on Severe Weather Payments on 2nd February 1987.
Mr. Gordon Brown Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will instruct all his offices to accept telephone applications for severe weather payments; and if he will instruct each local office to write to pensioners and others on supplementary benefit informing them that they may be eligible for severe weather payments.
Mr. Major The Department’s local offices have already been instructed to accept claims for exceptionally cold weather payments by telephone.
Although there are nearly 5 million supplementary benefit recipients, it is estimated that only about 1.5 million of these will qualify for exceptionally cold weather payments. It is not, therefore, proposed to instruct local offices to write to all supplementary benefit recipients about the scheme. I am, however, satisfied that, in view of the widespread publicity in national and local newspapers and on local radio, all reasonable steps have been taken to ensure that potential claimants are made aware of their entitlement.