Winter Fuel Allowance

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2011 Retired Members' Conference
10 October 2011

Conference is very concerned that in the coalition government’s Budget on 23 March 2011 it reduced the Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) by £100 (down from £400 to £300) for the over 80’s households and by £50 (down from £250 to £200) for the under 80’s households. In view of the horrendous rise in fuel costs and the death of 25,000 elderly people last year from the cold, we urge the National Executive Council to put pressure on the government to raise the Winter Fuel Allowance substantially.

With energy prices forecast to rise even further, Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee to work with the National Executive Council and other trades unions and the national Right To Fuel Campaign and the End Fuel Poverty Coalition in campaigning for a reversal in this policy which shows no respect or dignity for the elderly, for whom warmth in winter months is so vital.

This UNISON National Retired Members’ Conference instructs the National Retired Members Committee and calls on the National Executive Council to:

1. Take positive action to make our concerns known to the government about the way in which George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, dealt with this issue in his Budget Statement;

2. Campaign for an increase in the Winter Fuel Allowance without means testing to £500 for the over 80s households and £350 for the under 80s households in 2011; in association with all appropriate organisations e.g. National Pension Convention;

3. Publicise progress in UNISON publications on a regular basis;

4. Liaise with the National Executive Council and Labour Link about ways of challenging this cut;

5. Publicise its opposition to this cut to the WFA through all appropriate channels;

6. Urge retired members to write to their MPs on this issue;

7. Report back to Retired Members’ Conference 2012.