Martin Whitfield MSP is backing a call for the Scottish Government to ensure no-one loses out this winter due to the introduction of its new winter payment scheme.

This winter the SNP-Green Scottish Government scrapped Cold Weather Payments and replaced them with a new devolved Low Income Winter Heating Assistance – but thousands are at risk of losing out as a result.

The new Scottish payments are paid out at a fixed rate, rather than being paid out depending on weather. As a result, people will be left much worse off during colder winters. Analysis has shown that if this system had been in place in 2020, approximately 65,000 people would have received less money as a result.

Spells of cold temperatures this winter have prompted concerns that the new scheme will see people missing out during the worst cost of living crisis in decades. The scheme has already come under fire over delays, which have left people waiting until March for these vital payments.

Scottish Labour’s Social Security Spokesperson Pam Duncan-Glancy has now written to the Scottish Government urging it to guarantee that no-one receives less than they would have under the previous system, warning that it would be a “gross betrayal” if the new system leaves people worse off than with the DWP.

Commenting, Martin Whitfield MSP said:  

“Households across Scotland are going through the worst cost of living crisis in a generation, but thousands of people in Scotland now stand to miss out on lifeline support under the SNP’s winter payment scheme.

“If the SNP don’t change course these payments will quite literally be too little, too late. This goes against everything Scotland’s new social security system was supposed to stand for.

“I welcome the call for Ministers to give a cast-iron guarantee that no-one will be worse off with their new scheme than under the previous system and hope the SNP won’t short-change anyone this winter.”