A snow and ice warning has been issued for London and the south-east of England as freezing temperatures are expected to trigger cold weather payments for people on the lowest incomes.
Eligible households in England and Wales will receive a government payment of £25 when the average temperature has been recorded as, or is forecast to be, 0C or below for seven consecutive days.
The UK Health Security Agency has issued a level 3 cold weather alert covering England until Monday, and the Met Office has issued several yellow weather warnings for snow and ice in parts of the UK over the coming days.
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On Friday, the Met Office issued a yellow snow and ice warning for London and south-east England on Sunday and Monday, following identical warnings in other parts of the country.
The new warning, which lasts for 24 hours, says 2cm to 5cm of snow could fall quite widely and it could be up to 10cm deep in places.
It says there is a chance of travel delays on roads, trains and planes, power cuts, injuries from slips on ice, and communities being “cut off”.
A Met Office spokesperson, Grahame Madge, said: “The outlook for the UK remains cold at least for the next seven days, with the potential for this to continue even longer.
“Along with the cold air there are a number of weather-related hazards, including freezing fog, especially for Sunday and Monday mornings in the south of England. Overnight temperatures are likely to dip widely below 0C with some more sheltered spots dropping to -10C.
“Our forecasters are looking at the possibility of snow affecting the south-east of England on Sunday night and into Monday morning. If this happens it could bring some disruption to Monday’s rush hour.”
National Energy Action has urged the government to provide more support for “those at greatest peril” as the freezing conditions take hold.
Adam Scorer, the charity’s chief executive, said more must be done, adding: “Millions will have been dreading the onset of winter. Impossibly high prices and now cold weather will leave millions struggling to stay warm and safe at home.
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“Our figures show that 6.7 million UK households are fuel poor after energy prices have almost doubled in a year. We hear daily from people who are forced to turn their heating off when they need it the most.
“The vicious choice is either huge debt or an unheated home, with dreadful consequences either way. We will now start to see just how bleak this winter is going to be. Despite the current programme of support, the government must step in with more help for those at greatest peril this winter.”
A Department for Work and Pensions spokesperson said: “Cold weather payments can be triggered right through to the end of March, giving people facing disproportionately cold weather that extra reassurance over the chillier months.
“We are committed to protecting the most vulnerable in our society and this additional help comes on top of wider government support, including £1,200 in direct payments already issued to millions of low-income households this year.
“Alongside this, we are providing households with £400 towards their energy bills this winter, with our energy price guarantee saving the typical household another £900 on top of this.”