Winter Heating Payment replacing Cold Weather Payment: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Information requested

Request for Information 1: How many people/households in Scotland received the Winter Heating Payment and when did it arrive in their bank accounts?

Request for Information 2: How many people/households received less money than they would have on the old system used by the UK Government? How much less did each person receive?

Request for Information 3: How many people/households received more money than they would have on the old system used by the UK Government? How much more did each person receive?

Request for Information 4: How many people/households received the same amount as they have got on the old system used by the UK Government?

Request for Information 5: Are there still some people/households awaiting their winter heating payment? If so, why, how many and when will they receive it?

Request for Information 6: Cost/benefit analysis of why Social Security Scotland changed the payment system to a new one from the UK Government's one?

Request for Information 7: Can you supply the latest Gateway Review on the Winter Heating Payments?


We have interpreted your requests which reference “people/households” as relating to the number of persons who have received the Winter Heating Payment. Winter Heating Payment is a yearly payment of £50 that’s paid to eligible individuals and as such we do not hold the information broken down by household.

In processing your request, we have consulted with Social Security Directorate colleagues within the Scottish Government. Winter Heating Payment was launched as part of a wider programme for social security and the Scottish Government is responsible for setting the policy for this, and all other benefits being devolved to Scotland. At a Programme level, the Social Security Directorate is also responsible for the design, development and implementation of the Scottish social security system. Social Security Scotland is responsible for the delivery of those benefits.

Requests for Information 2, 3, 4, and 7:

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Social Security Scotland does not hold some of the information you have requested.

Winter Heating Payment replaces the Cold Weather Payment from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Unlike the Cold Weather Payment, Winter Heating Payment does not depend on how cold the temperature gets. Social Security Scotland does not hold information on cold weather triggers in Scotland and as such we hold no comparison of how many people would have received more, less or the same money if the old benefit were still in place.

No Gateway Review has been established for Winter Heating Payment. However, as with all benefits, an evaluation will be undertaken in due course to reflect and understand the impact of this new policy. Following delivery of a benefit there will also be a period of reflection and consideration of lessons learned so that these can be fed into the delivery of future benefits

Request for Information 1: 

An exemption under section 27(1) of FOISA applies to the information requested because we intend to publish that information on 06 June 2023, which is within 12 weeks of the date of your request. We consider that it is reasonable to withhold the information until that date, rather than release this information before the planned publication date.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release as part of the open and transparent delivery of services and this will be met by our planned publication. In the meantime, there is a greater public interest in taking the time necessary to ensure that the information has been properly collated and checked before it is published as planned.

The statistics publication will provide information on the timing of the payments and the payment should be with the individual within five working days, dependent on their bank.

Request for Information 5:

An update on the payment of the Winter Heating Payment was provided to the Scottish Parliament and is available to view here: 16208

We intend to publish statistics for Winter Heating Payment on 6 June 2023 and then on an annual basis in future. These will be available at our statistics publication page here:

Request for Information 6:

The consultation on Winter Heating Payment (previously named Low Income Winter Heating Allowance) can be found here:

Low Income Winter Heating Assistance (LIWHA): consultation - (

The Scottish Government’s response to the consultation is available here:

Low Income Winter Heating Assistance consultation: Scottish Government response - (

And the response to the Scottish Commission on Social Security’s scrutiny report is available here:

Supporting documents - Winter Heating Payment: response to SCoSS Scrutiny of regulations (

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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