Angus MP Mike Weir has welcomed support for his private members bill to make payment of the winter fuel allowance to pensioners off the gas grid at an earlier date from the All Party Parliamentary Group on Off Gas Grid.
The group have released a report into the off gas grid system and one of the recommendations called upon the Department of Work and Pensions to “Urgently reconsider its opposition to Mike Weir MP’s private members bill”.
Welcoming the support Mr Weir said: “The group have produced a very considered report and heard a great deal of evidence on the issue of off gas grid consumers. Their very strong support for my bill is very welcome and I would urge the UK government to look again at this issue as a matte of urgency.
“I have long argued that bringing forward the payment of winter fuel allowance to eligible pensioners who are off the gas grid would allow them to make purchases of fuel before the winter sets in and prices normally rise substantially.
“The whole purpose of the payment is to ensure that funds are available when the winter fuel bill arrives, which the present system does very well for those who pay their bills quarterly. Unfortunately those off the gas grid will generally find prices more expensive at that time and may have had considerable difficulty in getting or paying for supplies over the winter months.
“As Parliament is shortly to be prorogued for the Queens Speech time is running out for my bill but it would be possible for the UK government to take action on the matter in the Energy Bill, which is being carried over into the new session or in new legislation in the next session.
“I have pursued this matter for several years and firmly believe that it would give real help to some of the most vulnerable consumers who are off the gas grid. I hope that they will heed the advice of the all party group and take action in time to help pensioners before next winter.”