Eilidh Whiteford


MP Renews Plea for Help for "Off-Grid" Pensioners

Friday, 22 November 2013

Banff & Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has firmly backed moves by SNP colleague Mike Weir MP to help off-grid pensioner households facing steep energy bills over the winter.

Mr Weir had previously brought forward the Winter Fuel Allowance Payments (Off-Grid Claimants) Bill, which would provide for the early payment of Winter Fuel Allowance to pensioners whose homes are not connected to the mains grid and whose principal source of fuel is home fuel oil, liquid petroleum gas or propane gas.

Bringing forward payment of Winter Fuel Allowance would allow vulnerable consumers to fill up their tanks prior to the onset of winter and at a time when prices tend to be lower.

Despite the first Bill failing to progress through the Commons, Mr Weir has now reintroduced the Bill and will present it in the Commons on Wednesday in another attempt to garner support.

Dr Whiteford said that she is keen to support the Bill, which will directly benefit rural households in Banff & Buchan.

Commenting, Eilidh Whiteford MP said:

“Recent rises in energy prices have demonstrated the need for action to prevent the vulnerable falling into fuel poverty.

“Those who are off the mains grid face some of the most difficult challenges heating their homes. Without benefiting from social tariffs available to those in urban areas, or the ability to switch energy suppliers easily, off-grid rural pensioners are doubly disadvantaged.

“Bringing Winter Fuel Payments forward will allow rural pensioners to plan for the winter, and buy fuel earlier in the year when the wholesale costs are generally lower. It’s a small change to the way the payments are made, but it will bring huge benefits for those who live in rural areas and are facing a cold, expensive winter.

“I hope that Mike Weir’s Bill can attract cross-party consensus. This will not solve the problem of high fuel costs, but it will be a huge benefit to many of those most directly affected.”

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