Winter Heating Payments

– in the Scottish Parliament on 2nd February 2023.

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Photo of Pam Duncan-Glancy Pam Duncan-Glancy Labour

Last night, it was confirmed that the Government cannot guarantee that the winter heating payments will be paid this month. As the First Minister said in response to my colleague, the Government has said that it is Department for Work and Pensions data that is the issue.

Ministers set a deadline of 31 January for the DWP to share that necessary data. The relevant minister confirmed in committee that the payments would be made in February if the Government got that data; it did, so I ask the First Minister, has the Government failed to properly plan for the delivery of the payment? Has it underestimated the time needed to properly execute the policy? Will our constituents get the payment this month or will the winter heating payment end up being the Scottish summer payment, paid too late to keep people warm this winter?

Photo of Nicola Sturgeon Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

We will continue, as we have done with all benefits, to ensure that people who are entitled to these benefits get the money timeously. We received the data from the DWP and payments will be made to the 415,000 people eligible for the payment automatically over the course of February and March.

Photo of Ariane Burgess Ariane Burgess Green

Apologies, Presiding Officer—I meant to press my button again to withdraw the question.

The Presiding Officer:

Thank you. That concludes First Minister’s question time. There will be a brief pause while the gallery clears before we move on to members’ business.