LOCAL MP John Grogan has confirmed people on selected benefits in the Ilkley area became eligible last week for Cold Weather Payments thanks to the recent freezing conditions affecting the constituency.

To trigger these payments the average temperature at a specified weather station (in this case Bingley) must be recorded as, or forecast to be, zero degrees centigrade or below for seven consecutive days.

The alert for these payments was triggered for the period February 23 to March 1.

It should mean that £25 will be paid to eligible residents within LS29.

Mr Grogan said: "Payments should be made automatically to those who qualify for them and it will provide a little extra cash to families and pensioners trying to keep warm during the cold snap."

Cold Weather Payments are made from the Social Fund to certain recipients of income support, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit or Pension Credit during periods of very cold weather.

The payment is a fixed sum of £25 for each week of cold weather.

Mr Grogan added: “The so called ‘beast from the east’ has made life difficult for many people over recent days. I would like to take this opportunity to thank bus and train drivers ,local council staff and the voluntary sector for helping to keep life gong in Keighley and Ilkley and the surrounding villages often managing to keep a smile on their face at the same time."