§ Ms. Harman
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many claims were accepted in offices covering Fulham for payment of exceptionally severe weather benefit; and what was the amount paid out in 1985.
§ Mr. Newton
Ninetyfour single payments in respect of extra fuel used during a period of exceptionally severe weather were made by the Chelsea local office, which covers the whole of Fulham. The total amount paid was £1,158.378W
§ Mr. Clay
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what estimate he has made of the costs involved in making severe weather payments;
(2) what steps are being taken to publicise the availability of severe weather payments;
(3) what is the estimate of the costs to be incurred in publicising the availability of severe weather payments.
§ Mr. Newton
It is not possible to make a reliable estimate of the likely administrative and benefit costs of making single payments for extra fuel used during the recent period of exceptionally severe weather.
Paragraphs 7448 to 7450 of the S manual, a copy of which is in the Library, cover the publicity arrangements to be followed when a period of exceptionally severe weather has been declared. In addition, Ministers and regional information officers have made many broadcasts on national and local radio and television on this subject, and advertisements have recently appeared in most of the national daily and Sunday papers.
The cost of these national advertisements and of reprinting further supplies of leaflets and posters to ensure adequate stocks, is approximately £270,000.