Christmas comes late for Stockport Pensioners

March 3, 2009 10:26 AM

Mark and Andrew are calling for the Government to ensure that the winter bonus arrives in time to help with winter fuel bills

1 in 12 pensioners in Stockport Borough are missing out their Christmas Bonus payment, and will not receive it until Easter, with many unaware they even qualify, according to local Liberal Democrat MPs Andrew Stunell and Mark Hunter.

Research carried out by the Liberal Democrats has shown that 6,000 elderly people in Stockport have still not received their Christmas Bonus payment, worth £60. Many of those eligible may not even be aware that they haven't received money that they are entitled to, as it is a one-off payment, paid as a top-up to the existing Christmas Bonus.

Andrew Stunell and Mark Hunter are now calling for the government to speed up payments, and make sure that older residents in the area receive their bonus as soon as possible.

Commenting, Mark Hunter said: "This late payment is appalling. The Chancellor stood up in the House of Commons in November and promised pensioners a Christmas Bonus to help with their winter fuel bills, yet thousands still haven't received it, and are struggling to make ends meet.

"I am urging the Government to ensure that payments are made promptly next Christmas. Making the elderly wait until it's nearly Easter is just not acceptable."

Andrew Stunell added: "It is outrageous that thousands of local pensioners will be receiving their Christmas Bonus at the same time their grandchildren are receiving their Easter Eggs. The most worrying aspect is that the system is so complicated that many people don't even know they're entitled to receive it.

"At a time of sky-high heating and fuel bills, paying the bonus three months late is just not good enough.

"It is another in a string of empty promises from this government that all too often leaves pensioners out in the cold."

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