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Author: BBC News
Published on 22 November 2011 11:00 PM

A DUP motion in the House of Commons calling on the government to review its plans to cut winter fuel payments has been defeated.

A total of 205 MPs backed calls for a rethink over the payments scheme but 280 voted against.

The motion was brought forward because of plans to reduce payments to the over 80s by £100 and the over 60s by £50.

The government said the rates were budgeted for by the previous Labour administration.

During the debate, the Upper Bann MP David Simpson claimed that 756 people had died last year in Northern Ireland from cold related illnesses.

South Antrim MP William McCrea also claimed that 75,000 householders suffered from fuel poverty.

The DUP motion was backed by the Labour Party, the SDLP's Mark Durkan and the North Down Independent MP Lady Hermon.

In response to the DUP motion, Pensions Minister Steve Webb told MPs that the change to winter fuel allowance was "less than a pound a week".

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