SNP MSP Colin Beattie has welcomed the news that around 5,100 households in Midlothian and 5,800 households in East Lothian will receive an automatic £50 from the Scottish Government’s new Winter Heating Payment in the coming few weeks regardless of the weather conditions.
The new payment replaces the Cold Weather Payment - a Westminster benefit administered by the DWP – that only paid out when the temperature in Midlothian and East Lothian fell far enough for an extended period.
This meant many areas across Scotland missed out on any help at all from one year to the next because it was just not cold enough for long enough.
In contrast, the new £50 Scottish payment is guaranteed to be paid to every eligible household regardless of what the weather is like.
Earlier this week, the SNP Scottish Government received the data needed from the DWP to identify everyone in Scotland who is eligible. That data is now going through a quality assurance process to make sure all payments are paid safely and securely.
And the money will be delivered to eligible households later this month and next.
SNP MSP Colin Beattie said: “This really is a massive improvement for around 10,900 hard-pressed households in Midlothian and East Lothian.
“We have replaced the old Westminster payment – which only paid out when the temperature plunged for a sustained period – with a new Scottish payment that is reliable because it is guaranteed every year and does not depend on the temperature turning Baltic.
“It means those in need will get the much-needed extra cash this month or next without having to shiver away at home while hoping the weather stays cold long enough to trigger a payment.
“Last winter, no cold weather payments were made across whole swathes of the country. In total, only 11,000 people in the whole of the country received the cash from Westminster. This year, because of the SNP Scottish Government, around 10,900 households in Midlothian and East Lothian alone will get an extra £50 to help with the Tory cost-of-living crisis.
“And the total amount paid out by Westminster also varied enormously from year to year. Between 2015 and 2022, an average of only £8.3million was given out in Scotland to an average of 185,000 households.
“The new Scottish benefit will see £20million put into the pockets of 415,000 households in the next few weeks.
“That means around 10,900 households in Midlothian and East Lothian are guaranteed to receive £50 to help with their bills – regardless of how cold it is.”