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  • Writer's pictureNeil Mckeown

“Fuel poverty” drives search for cold weather help

Britain is searching for help as it heads into a cold snap, according to research by a UK charity.

  • “Cold weather payments” searches up 1,200% in a week

  • “Scottish cold weather payment” searches spike 5,000%

National Energy Association found that searches for “cold weather payments” have jumped by up to 1,200% in the past week with snow forecast for parts of the UK.

Search spikes were highest in Scotland where “Scottish cold weather payment date” has grown by over 5,000% in the past seven days. Scotland is not part of the scheme, which is only available in England and Wales. Its equivalent, the £55.05 Winter Heating Payment, should have been paid automatically last month.

National Energy Association (NEA) estimates there are currently 6.5 million households in fuel poverty, unable to afford to heat their homes enough to stay warm and healthy. This is a rise of around 2 million since October 2021 which means about 74k more households a month, or 18.5k a week. NEA says around 10k people a year die as a result of living in a cold home.

Government statistics for cold weather payments made between 1 November 2023 and 2 February 2024 are released by the Department for Work sand Pensions (DWP) on Wednesday 7 February.

The DWP said that last year over £130 million was paid to English and Welsh households.

The cold weather payment is £25 for each seven-day period of “very cold weather” - zero degrees celsius or less - between 1 November 2023 and 31 March 2024. The government says the money should be paid within 14 days.

People can check their postcode to see if they qualify here:

Methodology: Looking at google trends data for the past week, we tracked increases in searches for “fuel poverty” and “cold weather payments”.


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