Payments during cold weather are ‘snow fair’

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Central Scotland list MSP Mark Griffin has highlighted a major flaw in the way Cold Weather Payments are calculated by the Department of Work and Pensions.

During General Question Time last week he called on the Scottish Government to use the new Social Security Bill to create a fairer system.

Under the present system payment is determined by a weather mapping system, not localised forecasts.

This can often produce anomalies and low income families and pensioners can suffer as a consequence. An example of this can be found in the number of payments made within the Uddingston and Bellshill constituency since the start of November.

Those eligible in Bellshill, Mossend, Bothwell, Thorniewood and Uddingston fall within the Bishopton weather station, and have received two payments, equalling £50.

Whereas, those in Carfin, Holytown and New Stevenston have received four payments, equalling £100, because they fall within the Salsburgh station.

Mr Griffin said: “At General Question Time on Thursday I called on the Scottish Government to use the new Social Security Bill to deliver a fairer system for distributing Cold Weather Payments.

“The idea that people, some less than one mile apart, are losing out simply because of linkage to a weather station is a major flaw of the current system, especially at a time when people are forced to choose between eating and heating their homes.

“I have called on Ministers to use their new powers over social security to determine payments by using local forecasts rather than postcodes.

“The government has agreed to examine this further and I will continue to press for these reforms to be made.”

Mossend and Holytown councillor Frank McNally added: “It is rather baffling to discover that within my own ward we have people in Mossend getting two payments and people in Holytown getting four over the same period, we definitely need a better system.”