SOME of the region's most vulnerable people are each to get an £8.50 boost to help cope with the cold after a week of below-freezing temperatures.

Cold Weather Payments of £8.50 a week are made automatically - with no need to claim - to many pensioners and benefit claimants.

They are in addition to the one-off Winter Fuel Payment of £200 made to over-60s.

The payment covers the period January 6 to 12.

Anyone in receipt of the Minimum Income Guarantee, Income Support or Income Based Job Seeker's Allowance during that week is entitled to the cash.

Others who will get the payment include households with a child aged under five, those aged 60 or over and get a pensioner premium and those who receive a disability premium.

Those set to benefit in County Durham include residents in Consett, Barnard Castle, Bishop Auckland, Shildon, Crook, Spennymoor and Ferryhill.

In North Yorkshire, people in Bedale and West Richmond will receive the payment.

Further information on how to keep warm and healthy this winter is available free from the Winter Warmth Line, on 0800 085 7000.