OLD FOLK facing unthinkable choice between heating or feeding themselves

By Bill Heaney

Older People who may face financial hardship over the winter months due to the rising cost of living are set to benefit from £41 million winter support fund, which will help people in need to heat their homes and to meet rising food costs.
Shona Robison, the Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government , told MSPs today: “We are taking action to support all people on low incomes.
“We are also investing £114 million to tackle fuel poverty and to improve energy efficiency in people’s homes. Additionally, by the end of October we had delivered a £130 pandemic support payment to around 500,000 low-income households, including those on pension credit.
Shona Robison, the Secretary for Social Justice, Housing and Local Government.
“This week, we introduced the Money Support Scotland website and marketing campaign to raise awareness of the services that are available to people with financial worries.

Karen Adam MSP told parliament: “I recently met representatives of the charity Age Scotland, who stressed that the elderly are heading into a crisis, with pensions in the United Kingdom being significantly lower than those of our European neighbours.

“Our older people are often on fixed incomes, and they cannot afford sky-rocketing food and energy bills.

“Some are facing the unthinkable choice between either turning on the heating or feeding themselves. Does the cabinet secretary agree that pensioners have been betrayed by the UK Tory Government scrapping the triple lock?”

Ms Robison replied: “I absolutely agree with Karen Adam. The triple lock is crucial to ensuring that the support that is offered by the basic state pension continues to rise to reflect the increasing cost of living and to support pensioners into their third age.

“We are disappointed and concerned that the UK Government decided to push ahead with breaking the triple lock before publishing information on how that will affect pensioners, and despite a cost-of-living crisis that is set to hit everyone on low incomes, including pensioners.

“I therefore call on the UK Government to play its part by sticking to the commitments that it made to pensioners and by actively encouraging older people to take up pension credit.”

Labour MSP Mercedes Villalba said: “On Tuesday, the Scottish Government released the outline business case for a publicly owned energy company, two years after it was written. The business case highlights that a publicly owned energy company would produce annual savings for customers.

“Age Scotland recently revealed that eight in 10 older people were greatly concerned about paying their energy bills.

“With nearly 30 per cent of pensioner households in Scotland living in fuel poverty, does the cabinet secretary not think that it is time for the Scottish Government to fulfil its promise to deliver a publicly owned energy company?

Shona Robison replied: “The Government is investing £114 million to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency in people’s homes.

Is it not a shame that the member does not support our calls to have full control over all those issues here in Scotland?

“That would allow us to tackle fuel poverty in an even more efficient manner and to support people into their older age and during the winter months more effectively than we can with our fixed budget.”

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