Scotland

Charity's call for new deal on home energy

Woman walking in snow
Image caption The UK government said £100m was paid out in Scotland over three years

A charity has called for the UK government to do more to help people on low incomes with their energy bills.

Age Scotland said the money collected through carbon taxes should be used to make homes "super-energy efficient".

The UK government has released figures showing cold weather payments of around £100m have been paid out in Scotland over the last three years.

The total for payments made throughout the UK during the same period was £706m.

A spokesman for Age Scotland said: "Cold weather payments are a useful top-up for older people's incomes during winter but, with home energy prices soaring, we expect many low-income older people will find them insufficient to cover rising costs.

"The biggest difference the UK government could make to older people who endure winter misery in cold homes is to use the money it collects in carbon taxes to make their homes super-energy efficient.

"This would lift them out of fuel poverty for good so that never again would older people face the dilemma of heating or eating."

The UK government has defended the support it gives to pensioners.

Pensions minister Steve Webb said: "We are absolutely committed to helping the poorest pensioners and those most susceptible to the cold. We permanently increased cold weather payments to £25 a week to help them heat their homes when it's really cold, and have paid out over £706m since 2010 on this support.

"People who get pension credit are automatically paid cold weather payments and in the cold winter days ahead, it's even more important that older people check if they are entitled so they don't miss out on cold weather payments."

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