Expanding Winter Fuel Payment Would Benefit Thousands of Fifers

MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife Claire Baker is urging the SNP to take up Scottish Labour’s plans to expand the Winter Fuel Payment, after new figures revealed it could help up to 42,862 people in Fife.

Last week Scottish Labour called on the Scottish Government to introduce a £70 winter fuel supplement for low-income pensioners and struggling families, as the cost of living crisis looms. 

On October 1 the energy price cap rose by £139 – the largest increase in history. In contrast, the rate of Winter Fuel Payment has been frozen since 2011. Campaign groups have warned that the energy price rise and sky-high energy prices will lead to preventable deaths. This comes as furlough is brought to an end and the Universal Credit uplift is scrapped, prompting fears of a cost of living crisis stretching household budgets past breaking point. 

The Scottish Parliament has the power to take action to expand Winter Fuel Payments and alleviate fuel poverty, which affects an estimated 600,000 people across Scotland – but the SNP has delayed the devolution of the benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions for up to 4 years.

Now, Scottish Labour are urging the Government to use the powers they have to try and ensure no-one faces a choice between heating and eating this winter. 

Scottish Labour MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Claire Baker, said: 

“Too many Scots are facing fuel poverty as energy prices spiral out of control, but the Scottish Parliament can make a difference here. We have the powers to ensure payments reflect the pressures on fuel poor households – if the Scottish Government acts now we could help thousands of people in Fife this winter.

“No-one should have to face a choice between heating and eating. That’s why Labour would give people struggling with fuel poverty £70 now to help them through the winter months. In Fife this would help up to 42,862 people. 

“The Scottish Government needs to act now and ensure this additional support is made available for those in need this winter.”