Charities urge Nicola Sturgeon to provide 130,000 pensioners with £50 cash this winter
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Age Scotland is heading up the campaign to help 130,000 pensioners struggling to pay their heating bills and its calls are being backed by other well known charities. If it gets the green light it could signal a cash boost for pensioners in the rest of the UK.
As living costs soar, rising energy prices are hurting the most vulnerable in society.
Now Age Scotland is calling on the government to help pensioners make ends meet this winter – a campaign which is being backed by the Stroke Association, Chest Heart and Stroke, Citizens Advice, Energy Action Scotland and the Scottish Older People’s Assembly.
These charities say that not only will such a move enable the elderly to be able to meet rising costs when it comes to heating bills, but it will also relieve pressure on the NHS and social care.
If their calls are successful it will mean pensioners on a low income could be about to get an extra £50 in their bank account.
A spokesperson for Age Scotland said such measures were needed to combat rising energy costs.
The spokesperson said: “Preventatively spending £50 to mitigate against the 12 percent average rise in energy costs for those on the lowest incomes, and likely in the poorest health, could save the NHS millions of pounds and reduce capacity this winter.
“This would give older people on the lowest incomes reassurance that they can turn up their heating when it is cold in the knowledge that the extra cost can be met.
“Keeping older people well this winter and avoiding emergency medical treatment in hospital for respiratory illness such as pneumonia and influenza is vital.”
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Millions of households up and down the country have seen their bills rise by at least £139 a year.
Many more are struggling to make ends meet against a backdrop of other rising costs for food and petrol.
In a letter to Nicola Sturgeon, Brian Sloan, Age Scotland chief executive said: “When you consider the cost of medical treatment, if this preventative measure kept must 831 people out of hospital, less than one percent of the potential recipients, then it would pay for itself and result in better health outcomes.
“It is clear that further action is needed to protect the NHS and save lives this winter, and a modest investment which could prevent ill health amongst some of society’s most vulnerable is one worth taking.”
Meanwhile, charities have been reminding Britons to make sure they are claiming all the help they are entitled to.
People on Pension Credit should also get Cold Weather Payments, Winter Fuel Payments and the Warm Home Discount.
Cold Weather payments of £25 are paid automatically for every week the temperature drops to zero or below.
Winter Fuel Payments are worth up to £300 and are paid to people who receive the state pension or another qualifying benefit.
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Low income households might also qualify for the Warm Home Discount Scheme.
In this case it’s the individual energy provider that decides who does, and doesn’t, get it.
Usually they send out letters to customers asking them to provide supporting information of a qualifying benefit.
If people think they should be receiving this but aren’t, it’s worth giving them a call especially if one’s circumstances have recently changed. More information on government benefits can be found at gov.uk
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