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Low Income Winter Heating Assistance (LIWHA): consultation

Consultation on our proposals to introduce a new Scottish benefit, Low Income Winter Heating Assistance, to replace the current Cold Weather Payment scheme in Scotland from winter 2022.


Section 2 – About the Consultation

2.1 What are we consulting about?

This document sets out the Scottish Government’s proposed policy approach.

The Scottish Government has now committed to replacing the UK Government’s CWP of £25 for every 7 day period of very cold weather, with a new £50 winter heating payment paid annually to those low-income households currently eligible for the CWP. This will be an investment of £20 million every year and support 400,000 households, giving eligible low-income households guaranteed support with energy bills.

We are therefore consulting on the policy intention behind the delivery of this new LIWHA. This will build on the broader consultation on the Social Security Bill in 2016 which asked respondents for their views on WFP and CWP. This consultation aims to provide an overview of the new payments aim, its key eligibility criteria and format. It will lay out how we intend to deliver this new benefit through Social Security Scotland to provide assistance to individuals to help towards meeting heating costs in winter. We also want to identify any unintended consequences of our proposals.

This consultation asks questions on whether the policy intent set out in the Scottish approach to replacing CWPs will best meet the needs of those it is intended to help. We would like to gather views to ensure we have identified the best possible approach to delivering this assistance before we draft the benefit regulations.

2.2 Who might be affected by the approach proposed within the consultation document?

Any individual living in Scotland who has previously received a CWP during the winter from DWP, or would have likely received CWP if the weather conditions were met because they met all the other eligibility conditions, will be affected by the approach set out in this consultation document. In addition, any individual living in Scotland who meets the eligibility criteria may also be affected by the proposals. Welfare rights agencies, fuel poverty organisations, local authorities and rights organisations may also want to consider the impact of the proposed policy intent both on their organisations as well as on any client groups they support.

We are also taking this chance to collect information on what to include in our Impact Assessments on the introduction of LIWHA. There is an opportunity to feed into these in Section 7 of this consultation and we would welcome your views.

2.3 Who do we want to hear from?

We would like to gather views from a range of organisations and individuals, in particular those individuals currently receiving any of the qualifying benefits which would make them eligible for the new LIWHA, to ensure we have identified the best solution. In addition to asking questions about the policy we are also asking for views on the potential impacts of the devolution of both benefits on different groups and also on businesses.

We want this consultation to be as accessible as possible for people who might be affected by the transfer of these benefits. Therefore we would like to run events in conjunction with stakeholders to promote and encourage people to take part in the consultation. This will provide people with the opportunity to speak directly to us about their experiences and views on topics covered in the wider consultation.

2.4 How will my views inform the policy?

The responses to the consultation will be analysed and, taking these into account, policy decisions will be made. The final policy will be set out in draft regulations which will have to be approved by the Parliament before delivery can take place. The draft regulations will be scrutinised by the Scottish Commission on Social Security (SCoSS) before they are laid in the Scottish Parliament.

We will also start to design the business processes which will allow citizens to access and receive LIWHA. This work will include developing the communications that clients receive about their payments. We want to test and evolve designs with stakeholders and members of the public who have experience of the current DWP system to ensure it is as user-friendly as possible.

LIWHA will be delivered by Social Security Scotland. Social Security Scotland will have the systems, staff, processes, geographical reach and the legal powers to administer LIWHA across the whole of Scotland. The Agency’s head office is in Dundee, with a second major base in Glasgow and client advisors based in both locations. Once the Agency is fully operational there will also be a local delivery presence in local authority areas across Scotland. This will enable an accessible and person-centred service by providing a local presence across Scotland to meet people’s needs by giving them a choice in how they access the service.

2.5 What comments are requested and by when?

We are inviting responses to this consultation paper by 23 February 2022.

To submit your response online please visit our consultation website at https://consult.gov.scot/social-security/winter-heating-benefits. If you would prefer, you can email your response to our email address; WinterBenefitsPolicy@gov.scot or send to:

Social Security Policy Division
Welfare Fund and Winter Benefits Policy Unit
Victoria Quay
Edinburgh
EH6 6QQ

Contact

Email: WinterBenefitsPolicy@gov.scot

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