Low Income Winter Heating Assistance consultation: Scottish Government response

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

Overview of the Consultation


The purpose of the Consultation on Low Income Winter Heating Assistance (LIWHA) and associated stakeholder engagement at the end of 2021 and the beginning of 2022 was to gather views on the key eligibility criteria and the proposed payment format, and to identify any unintended consequences of introducing the new payment.

As part of this engagement process the Scottish Government also ran an extended workshop with a wide range of organisations representing various sectors. We also carried out a separate research project seeking the views of Social Security Experience Panel members on this proposed new payment.

Public Consultation

The public consultation[1] on LIWHA took place between 1 December 2021 and 25 February 2022. It provided an overview of the new payment's aim, its key eligibility criteria and its format. It set out how we intend to deliver this new benefit through Social Security Scotland to provide help towards meeting heating costs in winter. The consultation asked specific questions on whether the policy intention will best meet the needs of those it aims to help including whether the requirement for a period of cold weather to trigger a payment should be removed, whether different qualifying benefits should confer eligibility and whether those receiving such benefits should be identified during an annual qualifying week. We also asked about the value, format and timing of the payment itself.

A report[2] summarising the independent analysis of the 119 consultation responses has been published on the Scottish Government website. Our response to the issues raised by respondents is set out below.

Stakeholder Engagement

During the consultation period the Scottish Government also held a workshop with an extended version of our stakeholder reference group, including representatives from Citizens Advice Scotland, Energy Action Scotland, The Energy Savings Trust, Poverty Alliance, Child Poverty Action Group, Age Scotland, The Poverty and Inequality Commission, Inclusion Scotland, local authorities and NHS boards during the consultation period to discuss our proposals in detail.

Experience Panel Survey

From February to March 2022, Experience Panel members took part in research on LIWHA. We asked Panel members their views on the key policy options for this new benefit. In total, 288 members chose to complete a survey exploring this topic. The full report[3] details the findings and key themes that emerged from this work.

Of the 667 Panel members who met the criteria[4] to participate in this survey, 43 per cent responded. 78 per cent of respondents have received a CWP. The other 22 per cent would have had experience of benefits relevant to the eligibility criteria of Cold Weather Payment.


Email: WinterBenefitsPolicy@gov.scot

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