This year, over 16,000 people in Skye, Lochaber and Ross-shire have benefitted from Winter Fuel Payments, with some off-grid households – who face the highest heating costs in the country – benefitting from early payments.
Under the Scottish Government, over one million people have received a winter fuel allowance as part of the new Social Security system in Scotland – which is worth a total of £3.3 billion.
A Winter Fuel Payment is an annual tax-free payment paid to older people during the winter months, as well as those on a variety of qualifying benefits.
While the Tories at Westminster recently planned to scrap Winter Fuel Payments for those living in England and Wales, the SNP has remained committed to delivering this important payment in Scotland.
Kate Forbes, MSP for Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch, said: “It is important that 16,120 of my constituents in the Highlands and Islands are benefitting from generous winter fuel payments.
“Everyone should be able to heat their home, and keep themselves and their family warm, not just over the festive period, but throughout the winter months. We know how bitter the winters can become in the Highlands and that energy costs are prohibitively high for too many people.
“With new powers over social security, the Scottish Government is rightly committed to protecting the winter fuel allowance from Tory cuts.
“In the Highlands, we understand all too well the impact of weather and rurality on older people in particular. Winter can be a very isolating time, with many stranded at home. By maintaining the winter fuel allowance, we want to see a society in which everybody is treated with dignity and respect.”