Cold Weather Payment replacement: Payment rate ‘to double’ in Scotland

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The Scottish Government has announced the launch of its consultation into Low Income Winter Heating Assistance. Similar to the Cold Weather Payment, this benefit scheme from the devolved Government aims to assist those on low incomes who are in need of financial support to pay for their energy and heating bills this winter. Under Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, households which are in receipt of income-related benefits would automatically receive £50 every winter.

The public and relevant stakeholders in the new payment, which is estimated to cost £20million, are now able to share their thoughts with the Holyrood Government.

As part of the consultation, experts warned MSPs that an estimated 100,000 families are expected to go into fuel poverty as a result of rising energy bills in the near future.

However, the Government believes the new payment will assist around 400,000 households upon its implementation.



Ben Macpherson MSP, the Scottish Government Minister for Social Security and Local Government, explained why replacing the Cold Weather Payment is necessary.

Mr Macpherson said: “Our proposed new benefit, Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, will give the 400,000 low income households currently eligible for Cold Weather Payments the reassurance of a £50 payment every year.

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“This will be an investment of around £20million each year to support people towards the costs of heating their homes in winter no matter what the weather or temperature.

“Although Cold Weather Payments have been a valuable support for some during periods of very cold weather, there have been some years when hardly any payments have been made.

“The current requirement for temperatures to be recorded or forecasted at below zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row in order to trigger a £25 payment provides no certainty to people.

“Furthermore, we know that the location of the 27 weather stations in Scotland which need to reach this temperature have raised questions on equality and fairness for Cold Weather Payments.

“In some years only one or no payments have been triggered. If winters, as predicted, are due to be wetter and warmer, this may also reduce the numbers of Cold Weather Payments in the future.

“We want people to have certainty about receiving a payment, no matter the temperature during the winter or where they live in Scotland.”

Some 150,000 older households are likely to be pushed into fuel poverty this winter, according to Age UK.

The charity reports that this number could reach 1.1 million by spring 2022 if the UK Government does not take further action.

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Specifically, Age UK is looking for the UK Government to make a greater commitment towards increasing support through the Cold Weather Payment, as well as other benefits such as the Warm Home Discount.

Among their recommended proposals is a one-off £50 payment to all those eligible for Cold Weather Payments, which is the same rate proposed for the Low Income Winter Heating Assistance.

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