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MSP Katy Clark has called on the Scottish Government to introduce a £70 winter fuel supplement for pensioners and struggling families after the energy price cap was raised at the start of the month.
The plea comes as the furlough scheme is brought to an end and the Universal Credit uplift is scrapped, prompting fears of a cost of living crisis that could stretch household budgets past breaking point.
Katy Clark said: ‘We have a moral responsibility to lift Scots out of poverty. However, this winter many more Scots face falling below the poverty line as energy prices spiral out of control.
‘The Scottish Government has the power to ensure payments reflect the pressures on fuel poor households, but it has delayed taking action so far.
‘No one should have to face a choice between heating and eating this winter. That’s why the Scottish Government must give people struggling with fuel poverty £70 now to help them through the winter months.
‘In North Ayrshire, this would help up to 23,086 people. The winter months are fast approaching and we have a cost of living crisis escalating by the day – there is no time to waste.’
Winter Fuel Payments, which have been frozen since 2011, are given to those over the state pension age to help cover energy bills over the winter months. Powers over, and responsibility for, the delivery of Winter Fuel Payments were devolved to the Scottish Parliament, however, the Scottish Government has indicated that they intended to delay accepting the responsibility for Winter Fuel Payments up to 2024.