Winter Heating Payment (Low Income) (Scotland): island communities impact assessment

This island communities impact assessment ICIA) sets out to assess the specific impact of the introduction of the Winter Heating Payment on Scottish island communities.

Demography and health

33. Scotland has 93 inhabited islands with a total population of 103,700 (2% of Scotland's population) as per the 2011 Census[17]. The population of the islands increased by 4% (3,963) between 2001 and 2011. This reversed a decline in the population of the islands by 3% between the 1991 and 200123.

34. Remote rural areas have a higher (23%) proportion of older people (65+) than the rest of Scotland (17%)[18]. For males, the life expectancy in remote rural and accessible rural areas is around 79 years, nearly 2 years more than life expectancy in the rest of Scotland. For females, the life expectancy in rural areas is around 83 years, nearly 2 years more than in the rest of Scotland.

35. According to the 2011 Census, 83% of island residents reported their health as being 'very good' or 'good' compared with 82% for Scotland as a whole. The proportion of island residents with a long-term (lasting 12 months or more) health problem or disability that limited their day-to-day activities was just under 20%, including 9% who reported their daily activities were limited 'a lot'. The corresponding proportions for Scotland as a whole were very similar[19]. 17% of island residents are under age 16, which is the same proportion as per Scotland as a whole[20].

36. WHP acknowledges that regardless of temperature it is more likely to be difficult for people on low income benefits (who have a greater need for heat) to spend more money to heat their homes during the winter, despite the weather or where they live in Scotland. Therefore, the annual payment of £50 (equivalent of two CWPs) will offer certainty to low income households living within island communities to help them towards their energy bills each winter. This approach will have a positive impact on families which have a disabled person, a young person or an older person of pension age who are living in island communities.



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