This consultation detailed the Scottish Government’s proposals to introduce a new Scottish benefit, Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, to replace the current Cold Weather Payment scheme in Scotland from winter 2022.
Our response is supportive of the proposal to replace Cold Weather Payment with a new benefit whose eligibility is based solely on receipt of a low income benefit and not on reaching a specific temperature for a period of time. However, given the steep increases in fuel bills that people across Scotland are currently facing, we emphasised that existing steps (which include LIWHA) do not go far enough to mitigate these increased costs, noting that the Scottish Government should consider what additional action it could take on its own, for example by expanding existing measures, and continue to urge the UK Government to provide greater support for those most in need.
In terms of existing measures that could be expanded, we think that this should include increased investment in energy efficiency schemes. Energy efficiency is the best long-term solution to fuel poverty and results in reduced bills at source.