I have just chaired the Delegated Legislation Committee dealing with the Draft Christmas Bonus (Specified Sum) Order 2008.
As the Chairman I am, and remain, non-partisan on this issue.
The Order (now passed) implements a one-off Christmas Bonus announced by the Chancellor in the pre-budget statement on November 24th.
In addition to the pre-Christmas payment of £10 there will be a further payment of £60 made between January and March 2009. In addition to the £10 payment couples will receive £120 between January and March.
To receive the Christmas Bonus a person must satisfy the residence conditions and receive a qualifying benefit in the week beginning on the first Monday in December.
The Social Security Act
"provides for a Christmas Bonus to be paid to someone who is ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom or a Member State during the relevant week and entitled to a qualifying benefit in respect of at least one day during the relevant week" and the Secretary of State has the power to pay £10 "or a larger sum specified by order".
"Around 15 million people will receive the Christmas Bonus for 2008. Around 12.5 million are pensioners. Of the remaining 2.5 million recipients around 2 million receive the Christmas Bonus through entitlement to a disability benefit, around 350,000 through entitlement to Carer’s Allowance and around 150,000 through entitlement to bereavement benefits. Individuals entitled to more than one qualifying benefit will only receive a single Christmas Bonus". "This £70 payment will also go to children with disabilities".
"It is a tax-free payment and is not taken into account in the income-related benefits".
(Quotes taken from Explanatory Memorandum).
I have confirmed with the Minister’s Private Office that although the "Territorial Extent and Application" is listed as "Great Britain" the measure does apply to states within the European Economic Area (EU)
This may be of some modest interest.