Top-up needed as energy costs' cap comes to an end
Age Scotland has welcomed a Scottish Labour proposal calling for an increase in this year’s Winter Fuel Payment.
Party leader Anas Sarwar said that older people should receive an extra £70 this year to help with rising fuel bills – which the charity believes would be a welcome boost for those on the lowest incomes as temperatures begin to drop.
This comes after Age Scotland warned last week that the growing energy crisis posed a serious risk for thousands of older people this winter, and urged on the UK and Scottish Governments to work with energy suppliers to ensure vulnerable customers are treated as a priority.
Now, with the energy price cap increase mere days away and major energy companies continuing to go bust, they say urgent support is needed to protect against fuel poverty.
Adam Stachura, Age Scotland’s head of policy and communications, said: “Topping up the Winter Fuel Payment would undoubtedly have a positive impact on the well-being of older people on lower incomes, who we know found energy bills a considerable challenge to pay even before the current energy crisis hit.
“Those struggling to cope with rising fuel costs will already be thinking about how they might tighten their belts to make it through the colder months. It should never be a choice between heating and other essentials - we cannot risk older people making unnecessary and potentially unsafe sacrifices.
“Receiving an additional £70 with their Winter Fuel Payment could make all the difference, and would also help take action on growing pensioner poverty.
“Through our ‘Check in, Cash out’ campaign, we want to ensure no eligible older person misses out on vital social security support, including the Winter Fuel Payment. Anyone who is unsure about their entitlements can contact our 0800 12 44 222 helpline for a free check, as well as further advice about saving energy and staying warm and well at home.”