Payment is triggered

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Following the decision in October that the weather station in Aboyne was to be used for calculating cold weather payments, the government has announced that the first period of seven days below zero has just been recorded.

West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine MP Sir Robert Smith, who had pushed for the Aboyne station to be used to give better more accurate local information, said: “This is good news for households living within the area covered by the Aboyne weather station and will help to encourage those who need to keep warm to use their heating during cold spells.

“This was possible because the government reacted positively to the concerns of worried constituents and saw the sense of moving the measuring point from Aberdeen Airport to an inland measuring point.”

Previous to the new weather station being agreed, Sir Robert had been contacted by a number of constituents in recent years who had noted the temperature outside their homes was, on occasions, zero or below for seven consecutive days but they hadn’t received the government’s cold weather payments.

Robert raised this with the Department of Work and Pensions and following a review, the minister agreed to add an additional monitoring station to the scheme at Aboyne, which now covers those living in the following post code areas AB30-32, AB51-54, DD8-9 previously measured in Dyce.

People living in AB33 and 34 will also be monitored from Aboyne - they were previously monitored at Braemar.

Cold weather payments are separate from, and in addition to, winter fuel payments. For this winter (2011-12), the cold weather payment rate are £25 for a seven-day period of very cold weather.