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OAP fury over miserly’ fuel allowance raise

PUBLISHED: 09:26 18 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:30 12 August 2010

PENSIONERS have slammed the government s one-year £50 winter fuel allowance increase and urged over 80s to send their 25p pension raise back to Gordon Brown in protest. Last month, chancellor Alistair Darling increased the winter fuel allowance by £50 to

PENSIONERS have slammed the government's one-year £50 winter fuel allowance increase and urged over 80s to send their 25p pension raise back to Gordon Brown in protest.

Last month, chancellor Alistair Darling increased the winter fuel allowance by £50 to £250 and gave those aged over 80 an extra £100.

However, South East Thames secretary of retired members for the National Pensioners Convention, Peter Robinson, from Orpington, said the increase was not enough.

Mr Robinson, 67, said: "What we really need is a £100 increase and not just for one year. This is a short-term publicity stunt to appease us. Fifty pounds is not going to do a lot is it? It'll probably last a month."

He also criticised the increase in state pension by 3.9 per cent which works out as an extra 25p for those aged over 80. He added: "We need £134 to live on. They haven't taken into consideration the rising cost of living. In fact, we are sending letters out to different pensioners' organisations asking them to send their 25p back to the government and, in no uncertain terms, telling them where to stick it." Help the Aged spokesman Paul Bates said: "The one-off increases in the Winter Fuel Payments are nothing more than a stop-gap which won't cut the mustard in the battle against fuel poverty.

"Tinkering around the edges with benefits and payments is not the long-term solution that older people need in dealing with the soaring cost of fuel. What's really needed is a comprehensive policy on energy efficiency, which includes real investment in home insulation programmes such as Warm Front.

"Pensioners don't want sticking plasters, they need sensible, long-term policies which will make a difference. Single year handouts are simply not the answer."

A spokesperson for the Department for Work and Pensions said: "The Winter Fuel Payment is a significant contribution towards the increased cost of winter heating bills, covering around half of the average older person's winter fuel bill.

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