Two million households to get 'big freeze' payments

row of cottages under snow Image copyright Getty Images

Around two million UK households will receive Cold Weather Payments of £25 each, following last week's cold snap.

The government will pay out £50m, the largest weekly sum for five years.

The payments were triggered after temperatures in many parts of the country fell below zero Celsius for seven consecutive days.

Households in the West Midlands will get the highest pay-out of £8m, followed by £7m for homes in Yorkshire and Humberside.

To qualify, householders have to be claiming one of five benefits.

These are: Pension Credit, Income Support, Income-based Job Seekers' Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, or Universal Credit.

The temperature in your postcode area also needs to have remained at, or below zero, for seven days running.

Cold Weather Payments are separate to Winter Fuel Payments, which are paid to those born before August 1953.

Those eligible for Cold Weather Payments will receive the money automatically in their benefits, and within two weeks.

"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," said the minister for family support, housing and child maintenance, Kit Malthouse.