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Christmas comes late for 1,431 elderly people in Bedford and Kempston

February 28, 2009 10:25 PM
Henry Vann meeting pensioners

Henry Vann meeting pensioners in Bedford

Henry Vann has warned that Christmas bonus payments for 1,431 elderly people in Bedford and Kempston to help with winter fuel bills will not be paid until nearly Easter.

According to research carried out by Liberal Democrats in Parliament, nearly one in ten older people will be getting their Christmas bonus at a time when their grandchildren are getting their Easter eggs.

Henry Vann, parliamentary campaigner for the Liberal Democrats in Bedford and Kempston is leading calls in Bedford and Kempston to speed up payments and make sure older residents of the area get their bonus as soon as possible.

"This late payment is appalling," said Henry Vann. "At a time of sky high heating and fuel bills, paying the bonus three months late is just not good enough.

"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."

Steve Webb MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, said, "The Chancellor, Alistair Darling, stood up in the House of Commons in November and promised pensioners a Christmas bonus on their winter fuel payments, but clearly this was nothing of the sort.

"It is outrageous that this money will not be reaching pensioners until nearly Easter."

Parliamentary questions by Liberal Democrat MPs revealed that 8.69 percent of bonus payments - nearly one in ten - will not be made until March.