Lothians MSP Sarah Boyack has called on the government to follow plans set out by Scottish Labour to expand the WInter Fuel Payment.

The party have asked the government to introduce a £70 supplement for low income pensioners and families as cost of living increases appear inevitable.

Ms Boyack points out that on 1 October the energy price cap rose by £139 which is the largest in history. In contrast the Winter Fuel Payment has been frozen for a decade.

Furlough has now ended and the uplift in Universal Credit has been scrapped, and the Lothians MSP says there are fears of a cost of living crisis stretching household budgets past breaking point.

She says that The Scottish Parliament has the power to expand the payment and alleviate fuel poverty which affects around 600,000 people in Scotland, but have chosen not to devolve the benefit from the Department of Work and Pensions for up to four years.

Sarah Boyack MSP

Ms Boyack says there is no time to waste. She said: “This winter too many Scots are facing fuel poverty as energy prices spiral out of control.

“The Scottish Parliament can make a difference here. We have the powers to ensure payments reflect the pressures on fuel poor households – but the SNP have delayed taking responsibility.

“No-one should have to face a choice between heating and eating this winter. That’s why Labour would give ​people struggling with fuel poverty £70 now to help them through the winter months. 

“In Lothian, this would help up to almost 85,000 people. 

“The Scottish Government’s warms words are cold comfort if they fail to act.

“The winter months are fast approaching and we have a cost of living crisis escalating by the day – there is no time to waste.

“The SNP must back this policy now and start moving to get this money in people’s pockets.”