As temperatures across the Burnham-On-Sea area plummet with the arrival of the co-called ‘Beast from the East’, emergency cold weather payments have been triggered for local residents.

With forecasts showing average temperatures of freezing or below for seven consecutive days in the TA8 postcode area, local residents receiving Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), income-related Employment & Support Allowance (ESA), or Universal Credit may qualify for an additional payment of £25 to meet additional heating costs during the prolonged cold snap.

Those qualifying for the additional payments will receive them automatically but Burnham-On-Sea MP James Heappey has encouraged those whose circumstances have recently changed to make sure that their Jobcentre Plus is aware of any changes.

He said this can particularly be the case for parents receiving JSA or ESA who have just had a baby or have recently had a child under five years old come to live with them.

Mr Heappey said: “These payments are triggered to help the most vulnerable in our community get through severe and prolonged periods of cold weather.”

“The money will help to ensure that those who are particularly at risk are able to properly heat their homes during the cold snap.”

“Payments should be automatic to those who qualify but anyone whose circumstances have recently changed may want to contact their Jobcentre Plus to make sure that those changes are recorded.”

Anyone who does not receive an expected payment should contact their Pension Centre or Jobcentre Plus, or if receiving Universal Credit should contact the Freephone helpline on 0800 328 9344.