Scottish leader calls for fuel payment top up for pensioners

Energy bills

Energy bills are the biggest concern for 80% of over 50s, according to Age Scotland

Pensioners should get an extra £70 this year to help with rising fuel bills, the Scottish Labour leader has said.

Anas Sarwar wants the Winter Fuel Payment to be increased as bills are due to rise as the cost of wholesale gas, that suppliers need to pay, has tripled in recent months.

The cap on bills is to increase by £139 to £1277 a year next month as smaller energy suppliers are going out of business.

At the same time as the gas and electric hikes inflation is estimated to hit 4% with the cost of food and groceries at the shops expected to see a sharp rise too.

Sarwar said the most vulnerable pensioners will need extra help this year to avoid making choice between turning on the heating or buying food.

Speaking at the UK Labour Party conference in Brighton, Sarwar is expected to focus on the strain on pensioner and on the health and social services.

He is calling on the Scottish Government to use its powers to increase the Winter Fuel Payment, worth between £200 and £300.

Age Scotland found energy bills are the biggest concern for 80% of over 50s.

Sarwar is expected to say: This winter too many Scots are facing fuel poverty as energy prices spiral out of control. In Scotland, 150,000 pensioners live in relative poverty every year – with thousands more on the brink.

The Scottish Parliament has the power to make winter payments reflect the pressures on fuel poor households, but the SNP have delayed taking responsibility, he would say. That is why we would give every pensioner on the lowest incomes £70 now to help them through the winter months.

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