Mr. John David Taylor
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland whether he has now approved an exceptional heating allowance to persons in receipt of supplementary benefits to ameliorate the effects of the severe weather in Northern Ireland; what criteria are used to determine when such an allowance is paid; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
[pursuant to his reply, 31 January 1985, c. 298]: A single payment of supplementary benefit can be made where a period of exceptionally severe weather has resulted in greater than normal fuel consumption and a claimant has not put aside enough money to meet the extra cost. A decision on whether or 350W not the conditions prescribed in the relevant regulations are satisfied rests with the independent adjudication authorities. Following discussions with the Meteorological Office, the Chief Adjudication Officer for Northern Ireland has issued guidance on the temperature level at which the weather condition should be regarded as satisfied. This is based on criteria published in paragraphs 7426 to 7449 and appendix 19 of the Northern Ireland S manual, and takes account of temperature data supplied by the Meteorological Office. The relevant trigger point has not yet been reached in Northern Ireland, but, if it is, the Department of Health and Social Services will publicise the fact and provide information on how claims for single payments should be made.