Will the Minister for Local Government, Housing and Planning comment on what the stay-at-home guidance means for households, particularly those with disabled people in them, who will be using more electricity and heating than normal and who might also be struggling economically? What support is the Scottish Government able to provide to people who are experiencing fuel poverty as a result of the pandemic?
The Scottish Government has already topped up the Scottish welfare fund with an additional £45 million to take cognisance of issues such as
Temporary loss of sound.]
We ask people to look at boosting income in other ways first, through universal credit or other means, before resorting to the welfare fund. However, the welfare fund is there for emergency circumstances.
Beyond that, last week I wrote to United Kingdom Government minister Kwasi Kwarteng on what more we can do to help households who, without doubt, are using more energy during the pandemic. This week, I received a positive response about further help from energy utility companies, and we will continue to push for further moves to ensure that folks who are staying at home are doing so comfortably.