£20m to help 400,000 people with heating costs
Help with heating costs is on its way to around 400,000 people on low incomes through a new Scottish Government benefit, with the first payments processed this week.
More than £20m will be paid out over the course of February and March in Winter Heating Payments.
Winter Heating Payment replaces the Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Cold Weather Payment. Unlike the DWP benefit it replaces, Winter Heating Payment is not paid only to people when there is a sustained period of cold weather in a specific location, but is a reliable annual £50 payment.
Those eligible for Winter Heating Payment will receive it automatically, with no need to apply. It is paid through Social Security Scotland and people will get a letter to let them know they are eligible.
Minister for Social Security Scotland Ben Macpherson 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. On average only 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.”