A GWENT MP has argued for cold weather payments to be increased in line with inflation.

Nick Smith said the value of the special £25 payments had “not been updated since 2008”.

“In today’s money, it should be worth £37,” he told parliament, before arguing that areas like his constituency of Blaenau Gwent deserve “a fairer deal”.

The UK Government gives cold weather payments to people on certain benefits or mortgage support when the average temperature in their area falls to freezing over a seven-day period.

“Parts of Blaenau Gwent are more than 1,000 feet above sea level, and the constituency itself is one of the most deprived in the UK,” Labour MP Mr Smith said, before asking the secretary of state for work and pensions to “look again at the criteria for this scheme”.

“Surely areas with bad weather, higher energy costs and lower incomes should get a fairer deal,” he added.

READ MORE: How councils in Gwent could set up warm hubs this winter

In response, Mel Stride – who was recently named the new secretary of state in Rishi Sunak's new cabinet – acknowledged the “very important” cold weather payments, which are distributed automatically to eligible households.

“Typically, they are received within 14 days and they are targeted at those who are most vulnerable,” Mr Stride said.

“[Mr Smith’s] point about the particular local conditions and the elevation of parts of his constituency are well made and I would be very happy to have further discussions with him about that.”