§ Mr. Winnick
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what was the average heating payment for severe weather on the last occasion such payments were made; how many so far have applied in 1985 for this payment; and what steps have been taken to publicise the matter in the areas where such applications can be made.
§ Mr. Whitney
The last occasion in which single payments were made towards heating costs in a period of exceptionally severe weather was in 1982, when the average payment was about £13. Information is not available centrally to estimate how many people have claimed payments so far this year. In areas in which the Chief Adjudication Officer has decided to advise local adjudication officers that the "exceptionally severe weather" condition in the regulations has been satisfied, local social security offices have instructions to display posters and provide leaflets explaining how and when to claim. Local authority social services departments and housing benefit offices, advice bureaux and public libraries have been asked to display posters and leaflets. The Department has also briefed the local media in the areas concerned.