Council decision to scrap £100 heat payment for elderly sparks row

Glasgow's Labour group has criticised the joint SNP/Green budget for the coming year.

Glasgow City Council scrap £100 heat payment for the elderly again iStock

A £100 payment to help over-80s in Glasgow heat their homes has been scrapped again, sparking a row between Labour and the SNP.

The city’s Labour group has criticised the joint SNP/Green budget for the coming year for removing the affordable warmth payment.

Cllr Malcolm Cunning, the Labour group leader, said the move was robbing the elderly while “costs are rocketing”.

But city treasurer Ricky Bell, SNP, said the Scottish Government is committed to introducing a new scheme, which will retain payments for the elderly, later this year.

He said the SNP was addressing the “immediate cost of living crisis” based on “need rather than solely based on age”.

The affordable warmth dividend had been dropped by the SNP in last year’s budget but was reinstated in October, with energy prices rising, following pressure from Labour councillors.

At that time, cllr Bell agreed the payment could be brought back for one more year as expected replacement funding from the Scottish Government had been delayed.

However, he claimed the payment is “not a great use of council resources” as it is not targeted at those most in need.

Following the budget meeting last week, councillor Cunning said: “For the second year in a row, the SNP and Greens voted to rob our over-80s of £100 per year to help with fuel bills.

“They cried crocodile tears when Labour forced a climbdown last October, but have taken the first opportunity to reimpose the cut.”

The city’s Conservative group had also included the affordable warmth payment in its budget proposals.

And cllr Thomas Kerr said protecting affordable warmth payments left Glaswegians in “no doubt their Glasgow Conservative councillors are on their side”.

However, cllr Bell said: “There is an immediate cost of living crisis that we are addressing by funding fuel top-ups for everyone based on need rather than solely based on age. Maybe Labour think that young families are unaffected by spiralling energy costs and cold weather.

“This year’s payment has already been received by Glasgow residents and the Scottish Government has committed to introducing a new scheme later this year.

“This new scheme will ensure that payments are retained for older residents. It is unsurprising that Glasgow Labour lack the vision to take this action but thankfully the people of Glasgow are no longer at the mercy of their unimaginative redundancy.”

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