In Scotland, a new guaranteed annual winter heating benefit payment has been announced by the Scottish Government. The extra payment of £50 will be sent out for the first time in February 2023 to an estimated 400,000 low income households. Low Income Winter Heating Assistance will be the 13th benefit payment administered by the Scottish Government.
It is set to replace the UK Government’s Cold Weather Payments which is also available for households on low incomes.
However, the UK-wide scheme only gives said households a £25 payment under certain circumstances.
Claimants need to experience temperatures which fall below zero degrees Celsius for seven days in a row in a certain place to get the payment.
Those living in Scotland will not be able to claim the Low Income Heating Assistance instead to go towards their energy bills.
The Scottish Government has promised an annual investment of £20million which will go towards the payment.
This comes as households across the UK are experiencing an annual energy bill hike of £693.
Furthermore, the head of the country’s energy regulator has confirmed the price cap could reach as high as £2,800 by October.
While this is happening, inflation in the UK has reached nine percent and is expected to go up further in the coming months.
As a result, many households on low income will be looking for ways to be pay their energy bills as prices continue to skyrocket.
On the support, the devolved Government’s Social Security Minister Ben Macpherson said: “Our new Low Income Winter Heating Assistance benefit will provide a reliable payment every winter to around 400,000 eligible households, including pensioners and disabled people.
“This extra financial support from the Scottish Government will help at this time of rising energy bills and other cost of living pressures.
He added: “Our £20million annual investment will be a significant increase in support to around 400,000 households – compared with only £325,000 and 11,000 payments made by the UK Government in Cold Weather Payments in Scotland in winter 21-22.
“Making payments in February for the first year of Low Income Winter Heating Assistance will ensure a smooth transition from the UK scheme.
“We will explore the feasibility of bringing forward the payment date to earlier in winter in future years.
“This winter we will also be extending and increasing our Scottish Child Payment in November, as well as making Child Winter Heating Assistance payments for the third time. Both of these benefits are not available elsewhere in the UK.”