By Lucy Ashton
Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has called on the Scottish Government to take urgent action to ensure that winter fuel payments are accessible for those most in need this winter.
From the 1st October, the energy cap will rise by £139, meaning that bills will rise. This comes at a time when furlough is ending and there is uncertainty about jobs and the Universal Credit uplift of £20 is being removed.
Low income families and pensioners on fixed incomes are facing a perfect storm with a cost of living crisis not seen since the financial crash.
The UK Government has announced the creation of a Household Support Fund and Scotland’s share means an additional £41m added to the budget in this financial year.
Speaking after First Minister’s Questions, Jackie Baillie, left, said: “Scotland is facing a cost-of-living crisis.
“Furlough is ending, and Universal Credit is about to be cut for millions of people across the UK.
“From the 1st October, the energy cap will rise by £139, meaning that bills will rise and many will face the choice between eating and heating this winter.
“A shocking 613,000 households live in fuel poverty in Scotland, and of that over 200,000 are believed to be pensioners.
“This week we heard that Scotland had recorded the first death by starvation of an older person in a decade. Warms words are cold comfort if the SNP fail to act.
“Earlier this week Scottish Labour called for a £70 increase in the Winter Fuel Payment to help the poorest pensioners this winter.
“The Scottish Government will now receive an extra £41 million to support hard-pressed families over the coming months.
“So we call for them to deliver that support now and provide financial assistance to pensioners and those on low incomes who receive council tax reduction.
“Those in need must have the reassurance that help is on the way. We must put that money in the pocket of those who need it now, without delay.”