I have again raised concerns that constituents living in the KY6, KY7 and KY8 postcode areas will be left out in the cold again this winter due to the postcode lottery used by the UK Government to issue Cold Weather Payments.
I've repeatedly raised this issue with the DWP, as at present the UK Government uses a weather station in Leuchars to determine whether residents with these postcodes are entitled to the Cold Weather Payment, which is automatically paid if the average temperature in the area is recorded below freezing for seven days in a row.
Earlier this year I was pleased to be told that the postcodes would be included in a Met Office review of weather stations used to determine eligibility for the payment, but I recently learned that in spite of this no changes will be made for the 2021/22 winter season. I've now written to the UK Minister for Work and Pensions to express my dismay at this decision and ask for it to be reviewed again.
It's become an annual event for me to challenge the way the UK Government decides on eligibility for these payments because it's been disadvantaging my constituents for years. I was hopeful that in this year’s weather station review they would finally see sense, but it seems obvious that the decisions are being made by someone in an office in London rather than someone who knows anything about the geography of Fife.
Despite repeatedly being told otherwise, the UK Government seems to think that whole KY6, KY7 and KY8 postcode area will be at the same temperature as Leuchars which is on the coast and almost at sea level, when in fact much of North Glenrothes is over 500 feet up and parts of Kennoway for example aren't that much lower. This makes a massive difference to the temperature and to people's heating bills, which the Cold Weather Payment could really help with.
I can’t understand why they cannot use a more local weather station to measure the temperature in Central Fife, so I have again written to the UK Government to ask them to think again.