Labour victory over winter fuel payments
Pensioner Greg Bell clears snow from the path of his house in Dumbarton.
March 1, 2018 – A successful Labour campaign backed by local MSP Jackie Baillie has ensured that over 40,000 pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute will not be means tested for winter fuel payments.
MSPs have unanimously backed an amendment lodged by Labour to the Social Security Bill to ensure pensioners’ payments are protected.
There are 22,910 pensioners in Argyll and Bute and 17,480 pensioners in West Dunbartonshire who currently receive payments designed to tackle fuel poverty over the winter months. The original legislation drafted by the SNP Government had left the door open to means testing.
Disability benefit and employment injuries assistance – which covers industrial injuries – will also not be means tested after the Social Security Committee backed further Labour amendments.
Jackie Baillie said the amendments would help ensure protection for the most vulnerable in society. She added: “The winter fuel payment has been worth millions to pensioners in Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond since it was first introduced by a Labour Government and I will always fight to ensure the payment is protected.
“It is welcome that MSPs have agreed with Scottish Labour that winter fuel payments should not be means tested and disability benefits must be rights-based.
“These amendments will protect the payments for over 40,000 pensioners in Argyll & Bute and West Dunbartonshire, as well as those people experiencing a disability and those who have suffered an injury at work.
“The most vulnerable people in society should not have to prove they need support – and I am delighted my colleagues from other parties have also agreed with that.”