Universal entitlement to the payment should continue, though some changes to value and timescale would be welcomed.

As part of the ongoing devolution of some powers over social security to the Scottish Parliament, the Scottish Government consulted on their proposals for a Pension Age Winter Heating Payment (PAWHP). The PAWHP is intended to be a like-for-like replacement for the UK Government’s Winter Fuel Payment, which provides payments to assist with the cost of energy bills to people who have reached state pension age.

Whereas with many other Scottish social security payments the ALLIANCE has advocated for varying degrees of divergence from the UK payments they are replacing, we are content that due to the universal entitlement to PAWHP that like-for-like replacement of the current Winter Fuel Payment is mostly adequate.

There are nonetheless some small changes we believe the Scottish Government should consider making to the payment. In our response, the ALLIANCE:

  • Agrees with continuing the universal entitlement to the payment, and that the new name more clearly reflects its purpose.
  • Encourages using the annual payment of PAWHP as an opportunity to communicate other entitlements, such as disability and carers payments, with the aim of maximising uptake of social security more broadly.
  • Recommends that payments be made in November so as to be available before the winter period, and in particular so that off-grid households reliant on the advance purchase of fuel are able to stock up at the right time.
  • Calls for uplifts to the payment to be in line with the rate of increase in energy bills rather than simply the overall rate of inflation, to ensure it keeps pace with the bills it is intended to support with.
  • Recommends that individuals who have opted out of receiving PAWHP nonetheless receive occasional reminders of their entitlement, so that if their circumstances have changed they are reminded that they can access support.
  • Recommends that it consider more broadly what further actions it could take to reduce fuel poverty in rural and island areas especially.

You can read the full consultation response via the resource links below.

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