Big freeze triggers cold weather payments totalling £50m
Residents in the area including Birmingham, Coventry and Dudley got £7.2 million.
Last week’s cold snap triggered an estimated £50 million of cold weather payments – the highest figure of the winter.
Nearly two million people across Britain were eligible for the money in the seven days to March 2, new figures show.
Some £7.2 million alone went to residents in the area covered by the Coleshill weather station, which includes Birmingham, Coventry and Dudley.
A further £4.3 million was triggered for people in Doncaster and Sheffield, while £2.7 million went to residents covered by the Gravesend weather station, including Dartford, Romford and Southend-on-Sea.
In total, £90.7 million is estimated to have been paid out across Great Britain since the 2017/18 scheme began, according to the Department for Work and Pensions.
This is well above the amount for 2016/17 (£3.1 million) and 2015/16 (£3.9 million), but still below the £141.7 million paid in 2012/13.
The Government’s cold weather payment scheme runs each year from November 1 to March 31.
Payments are triggered by data collected by the Met Office from 94 weather stations around Britain.
A sum of £25 is automatically paid to eligible people in every area where a weather station shows the average temperature has dropped, or is forecast to drop, to zero degrees Celsius or below for seven days in a row.
The money is paid to the recipient within 14 days.
Kit Malthouse, minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, said: “As we all experienced last week, extreme weather has the potential to cause a number of problems, but what cold weather shouldn’t do is discourage anyone from turning up their heating to keep warm.
“With nearly £50 million paid out last week alone in cold weather payments, it’s important the most vulnerable people are getting support when they need it most.”