A blunder by the SNP government means 3000 pensioner households in East Lothian will miss out on early winter fuel payments.
Both Scottish Labour and the SNP made manifesto commitments to offer early winter fuel payments to those who live off-grid, such as homes that do not have access to mains gas.
Making early payments would allow pensioners to stock-up on supplies and take advantage of low prices before winter. Figures provided by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) reveal 3000 older households in East Lothian would be able to take advantage of the change.
Such a change would take around 18 months to introduce, according to the SNP government. But in response to a parliamentary question, it has emerged SNP ministers have yet to have any discussions about introducing early payments – meaning pensioners will again miss out on earlier payments this year.
Commenting on the blunder, Iain Gray MSP said:
“These are deeply worrying reports. Giving early winter fuel payments to households who live off-grid in East Lothian would allow them to prepare for winter properly, as well as take advantage of lower prices.
“These figures show this would help 3000 local pensioner households, particularly those in the most rural areas more likely to be suffering from fuel poverty.
“Yet it seems the SNP ministers are content to drag their heels and not introduce this important measure. The SNP has already failed to deliver early payments for this winter – one of the worst on record – and now it seems it will not be delivered in time for next winter either.
“The SNP’s timidity and lack of action is failing thousands of pensioners in East Lothian. It’s time for the SNP to spell out when these early payments will actually be delivered.”