A new benefit payment will give 400,000 households in Scotland £50 every winter to help with heating bills.
The Scottish Government will replace the current UK-wide Cold Weather Payment with the first payment set for February 2023.
The Low-Income Winter Heating Assistance, which is expected to cost £20m annually, will be the Scottish Government’s 13th benefit.
The previous benefit paid £25 for each seven-day period where the temperature is forecast to be below freezing.
Under the new scheme, households receiving income-related benefits would automatically receive £50 every winter.
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.
“Unlike the current Cold Weather Payments, Low Income Winter Heating Assistance will provide support to people irrespective of weather conditions or temperature levels where they live.
“It will be our thirteenth devolved benefit and will only be available in Scotland. It will also be an automatic payment to all those who are eligible, so there is no need to apply.
“Our £20m 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.”