Proposed heating benefit would give 400,000 households £50

The Scottish Government is aiming to replace the UK-wide Cold Weather Payment.

Proposed heating benefit would give 400,000 households £50 Steve Parsons via PA Media
Heating: Proposed new benefit payment would give 400,000 households in Scotland £50.

A proposed new benefit payment would give 400,000 households in Scotland £50 each every winter to help with heating bills.

The Scottish Government is aiming to replace the current UK-wide Cold Weather Payment in the winter of 2022.

It has opened a consultation on Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, which is expected to cost £20m annually.

The current benefit pays £25 for each seven-day period where the temperature is forecast to be below freezing.

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Under the new scheme, households receiving income-related benefits would automatically receive £50 every winter.

Social security minister Ben Macpherson said: “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 at all by the UK Government.

“If winters, as predicted, are due to become generally wetter and warmer then this may also reduce the numbers of Cold Weather Payments in the future. We want people to have certainty about receiving a payment.

“Our proposed new benefit will be the equivalent to two payments of Cold Weather Payment and should ensure that most people will be better off.

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“Significantly, it will also enable us to provide assistance to more households that are at risk of fuel poverty.”

Last week, experts told MSPs around 100,000 more households are expected to go into fuel poverty as a result of rising energy bills.

More than 600,000 households are currently estimated to be in fuel poverty.