Winter Heating Payments will help more people on low incomes


SOCIAL Security Minister Ben Macpherson will give evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee today on regulations to introduce a new winter benefit.

Subject to parliamentary approval, Winter Heating Payment will provide around 400,000 people in receipt of certain low income benefits with a reliable £50 annual payment to help with their heating expenses every winter – totalling around £20 million per year. These payments will be made from February 2023.

Winter Heating Payment will replace the UK Government’s Cold Weather Payment scheme in Scotland and help more people with their bills. Cold Weather Payment is unpredictable and only triggers a £25 payment when temperatures fall below zero degrees Celsius on average for seven days in a row at certain weather stations.

Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said:

“Winter Heating Payment will replace Cold Weather Payments with a reliable annual payment of £50, which will be made automatically to around 400,000 eligible people in Scotland this winter. This will help more people than Cold Weather Payments of £25, which on average have supported around 185,000 people in recent years.

“Cold Weather Payments have been unpredictable over the years because they are dependent on sustained cold weather to trigger a payment. Instead, our new Winter Heating Payment will break the link with weather dependency and help those in need wherever they live in Scotland and whatever the weather is like in their area.

“People will be able to rely on getting Winter Heating Payment every year, rather than having to hope it gets cold enough for long enough before receiving a payment.

“The Scottish Government will invest £20 million per year in Winter Heating Payment – which compares with an average of £8.3 million paid out annually in Scotland under the Cold Weather Payment scheme.

“We know people on low incomes are struggling with rising energy bills and that is why we have also doubled the Fuel Insecurity Fund this winter and we are continuing to press the UK Government to use all of its powers to tackle the cost of living crisis.

“I would encourage anyone looking for more information and help with their energy costs right now to visit”

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