Scottish Liberal Democrat and Shetland MSP, Beatrice Wishart is calling for £61,460 to combat rising energy bills in Scotland. Ms Wishart and the Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to double the Warm Home Discount for existing recipients and make it available to over 22,000 extra pensioners across Scotland. The measure would prevent pensioners being forced to “choose between eating and heating”, says Wishart.
The call comes amid fears that residents, particularly pensioners on low incomes, could be at risk from the energy crisis this winter.
The Warm Home Discount, funded by energy firms, is due to give people £140 off their electricity bill this winter. It is available to those who receive the ‘Guarantee Credit’ element of pension credit as well as some people on low incomes.
The Liberal Democrats are calling on the UK Government to take on the cost of the Warm Home Discount, immediately double its value to £280, and expand the criteria to help more pensioners cope with soaring bills this winter.
£42,700 is currently spent on the Warm Home Discount in Shetland. Under Liberal Democrat plans this funding would rise to over £61,460.
This follows Ms Wishart previously calling for an eradication of fuel poverty by doubling the Scottish Government’s fuel poverty budgets. In May of this year Ms Wishart urged the Scottish Government to re-start work on the delayed fuel poverty strategy. Ms Wishart also backed Shetland Tariff plans in July.
Ms Wishart commented:
“The most vulnerable pensioners and families are being pushed into a cost of living crisis. We are seeing rising bills and the slashing of vital support.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats are calling for an extra £22 million pounds to help people across Scotland cope with soaring bills this winter.
“£61,460 of which would help keep Shetland homes warm this winter. Nobody should have to choose between heating and eating.
“Checking that you receive all support that you are entitled to, like Pension Credit, is also important. If you need further information please contact my office.”
Notes to Editor
A spreadsheet providing local authority breakdowns can be found here.
305 pensioners currently qualify for the WHD (£140) - they receive the "Guarantee Credit" element of pension credit. To double the Warm Home Discount for them, it would cost £42,700 (305 x £140)
An additional 67 people get pension credit, but not "Guarantee credit". So to expand it to them would cost £18,760 (67 x 280)
You can see Ms Wishart’s call to eradicate fuel poverty here.
You can see Ms Wishart’s urge to the Scottish Government here.