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Cold weather payments will give £25 to eligible households during freezing seven-day spells





The UK is facing some bitterly cold days ahead, believes the Met Office, with high pressure drawing in ‘colder than average’ temperatures for the time of year.

But the significantly colder air, which is set to send the mercury plummeting further by the weekend, can come at a price as households are forced into using more gas and electric, which rose again in price on January 1.

The Met Office is forecasting wintry weather ahead. Image: iStock.
The Met Office is forecasting wintry weather ahead. Image: iStock.

Should the Arctic temperatures really plunge us into a prolonged cold snap, extra financial help could be available to help cover the cost of more expensive winter bills.

Among them is the Cold Weather Payment scheme, which gives extra money to the most hard-pressed households to help them heat their homes, should freezing conditions in their area persist for at least a week.

Introduced on November 1 and running until March 31 this year, grants of £25 are available to low-income homes every time the weather locally is - or is forecast to be - 0C or below for seven consecutive days.

A drop in temperatures can leave people struggling with energy costs. Image: iStock.
A drop in temperatures can leave people struggling with energy costs. Image: iStock.

How to claim

The money - paid to those on certain means tested benefits including some pensioners - is sent out automatically to homes living in areas which have experienced such freezing weather. It should arrive within 14 days after each cold weather spell.

Those entitled don't need to claim or submit any form and the support will be paid automatically to anyone registered with the Department for Work and Pensions who receives one of the following qualifying benefits:

*Pension credit

*Income support

*Income-based jobseeker’s allowance

*Income-related employment and support allowance

*Universal credit

*Support for mortgage interest

Money is available to help pay the heating when temperatures hit freezing for seven days. Source: iStock.
Money is available to help pay the heating when temperatures hit freezing for seven days. Source: iStock.

Each £25 payment is given to households to keep, there's no requirement to pay the cash back, and if there are multiple seven-day spells of cold weather then entitled households can receive more than one grant during the five month qualifying period.

The severe cold weather expected in the coming days, says the Met Office, could bring ‘wintry hazards’ for some.

The Met Office is expecting below-average temperatures in the coming days. Image: iStock.
The Met Office is expecting below-average temperatures in the coming days. Image: iStock.

Met Office Head of Situational Awareness Will Lang said: “There will be a resurgence in the really cold weather through the weekend and that spreads across the whole of the UK during the early part of next week.

“Initially, this means there will be more in the way of showers around the coasts, turning increasingly to snow for many areas, especially further north.”



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