The Scottish Government has announced that people on low incomes are to receive funding to help with their heating costs, with the first payments being processed this week.
Over the course of February and March, Winter Heating Payments totalling £20 million will be paid out to around 400,000 people, with the payment replacing the Cold Weather Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions.
The main difference between the Winter Heating Payment and the Cold Weather Payment is that, unlike it’s DWP predecessor, the new benefit will be a reliable annual payment of £50 that will be sent automatically to the recipient with no need to apply. The previous payment was only sent to people when there was a sustained period of cold weather in a specific location.
Ben Macpherson, Minister for Social Security Scotland, said:
“Our new Winter Heating Payment is the thirteenth Scottish Government benefit. This year it will provide 400,000 people most in need with a reliable, automatic £50 payment to help towards their heating costs.
“The Payment will reach significantly more people than the benefit it has replaced. One average on 185,000 people received the equivalent Cold Weather Payments from the UK Government over the last seven years – whereas we will pay everyone eligible every year.
“The Scottish Government is investing around £20 million per year compared with an average of £8.3 million annually paid out through Cold Weather Payment. We will also uprate the next Winter Heating Payment by 10.1% to £55.05”