Local MSP Rhoda Grant, Labour, has hit out at delayed payments by the Scottish Government of the winter fuel allowance to pensioners in Orkney.
Early payments would go to pensioners who live in areas where there is no mains gas. It would mean those in receipt of the allowance could stock up early on their winter fuel requirements and make use of cheaper prices.
Scottish Government Ministers have, however, failed to have any discussions as yet on early payments and according to their own figures Rhoda Grant says it could take up to 18 months to introduce.
Rhoda Grant said:
“Giving early winter fuel payments to pensioner households who live off-grid would allow them to prepare for winter properly, as well as take advantage of lower prices.
“These figures show this would help pensioners, particularly those in rural areas more likely to be suffering cold, damp winters of fuel poverty.
“Yet it seems SNP ministers are content to drag their heels and not introduce this important measure.
“All our SNP MSPs were elected on a manifesto commitment to deliver early winter fuel payments – and they should explain why it is now not being delivered.
“The SNP has already failed to deliver early payments for this winter – one of the worst on record – and now it seems it will not be delivered in time for next winter either.
“This lack of action is failing pensioners. It’s time for the SNP to spell out when these early payments will actually be delivered.”
According to Labour 3,000 pensioners on Orkney will miss out on early winter fuel payments.