Numbers receiving winter fuel payments fall across east London
- Credit: PA IMAGES
East London boroughs have seen the number of people receiving winter fuel payments plummet over the last decade, government figures reveal.
New data from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reveals how many people received winter fuel payments in 2019/20.
We compared this with the number of recipients in 2009/10 - the earliest these figures were recorded.
The payments were introduced in 1997 to tackle fuel poverty among pensioners.
Households where someone is receiving a state pension are automatically entitled to a tax-free sum of between £100 and £300 each year towards the heating bill.
In Barking and Dagenham, 17,970 households received winter fuel payments in 2019/20 - down 26 per cent from 2009/10 (24,180 recipients).
This is the largest percentage decrease over that period out of 380 local authorities across Great Britain.
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Tower Hamlets ranked fourth by that measure, with the number of recipients dropping 20 per cent to 16,190 in 2019/20 compared with a decade earlier (20,140).
Havering had the most recipients across east London, with 44,900 payments in 2019/20 - down 15pc from 52,930 in 2009/10.
In Redbridge, 35,230 households received winter fuel payments in the latest figures, which was a 16pc decrease from 2009/10 (41,830).
There were 22,650 recipients in Newham in 2019/20.
This amounts to a 13pc drop from the 2009/10 total of 25,940.
In Great Britain, 11.4 million households received winter fuel payments in 2019/20 - about 10pc fewer than in 2009/10.
The government's Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) put the fall in payments over the last decade down to changes to the state pension age.
Successive governments have raised the age of entitlement for women in line with men, which has meant fewer women could claim winter fuel payments.
A DWP spokesperson said: "The government makes more than 11.5 million winter fuel payments totalling £2 billion a year to help people pay their heating bills.
"Nearly all are automatic without the need to claim.
"As the state pension age for women has increased since April 2010, it follows that the annual numbers eligible for payments will fall slightly."