Figures released by the Liberal Democrat party reveal that 3,425 vulnerable pensioners living in Kingston and Richmond could be missing out on government benefits designed to help elderly people in bouts of freezing weather.
Cllr Rolson Davies, who is Kingston Council’s Executive Member for Health and Adult Community Services said: “Experiencing seven consecutive days of temperature below zero degrees will have been a difficult and worrying time for local pensioners on extremely low incomes.
“The Government is offering a small amount of financial support to help elderly and vulnerable people with the increased costs of gas and electricity bills, but more than 3,000 local people who are poor enough to be eligible could be missing out on Cold Weather Payments.”
“It is clear that Labour are falling short on their duty to reach the most vulnerable people in our communities. Pensioners should have easily access to the extra money needed in extreme weather conditions to keep safe and warm.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Davies added: “While the Council are working at a local level to provide financial assistance and practical help to insulate properties, the Government needs to go further in simplifying the benefits system and should be taking serious action on the national disgrace which is fuel poverty.
“I encourage residents who are retired, disabled or unemployed to enquire your local benefits service about what additional help is available in cold weather. The Council and their partners in the third sector will also be doing everything they can to advise people of their rights.”