Increases approved for Inverness Winter Payments Discretionary Scheme
The Inverness Winter Payments Discretionary Scheme is a discretionary scheme designed to support members of the community most in need of financial assistance during the coldest months of the year when extra fuel is needed.
During winter 2017/18, 1,387 households received payments totalling £112,347 against a budget of £105,000. 1,072 residents in Inverness City and 315 residents in the Landward areas received a discretionary award. Funding comprised £88,000 from the Common Good Fund plus a £25k contribution from the Benevolent Funds.
At this time of welfare reform, there is still an increasing demand for this type of Winter Payment assistance which is expected to continue during 2018/19.
Members of the City of Inverness Area Committee have today agreed an increase to the 2018/19 Inverness Winter Payments Discretionary Scheme, funded by the Inverness Common Good Fund.
There will be an increase in a single tier payment from £81 to £82 to be made to those applicants that satisfy the eligibility criteria for the 2018/19 scheme (based on the 0.4% increase in the Consumer Price Index). The budget will increase from £105,000 to £132,000 to take this increase into account and the anticipated increase in demand during 2018/19 arising from ongoing welfare reforms and energy costs.
In order to protect the most vulnerable residents, the scheme provides for automatic winter payments to be made for those receiving a Scottish Welfare Fund Crisis Grant payment between 1 December 2018 and 28 February 2019.
Officers will continue to promote Home Energy Scotland and to encourage applicants to seek valuable advice on energy efficiency.
Provost and Leader of the City of Inverness, Councillor Helen Carmichael said: “This scheme is vital in helping the most vulnerable in our community and I would like to extend my thanks to those members of Highland Council staff who maximised take-up and administered the scheme. We experienced a particularly long cold winter and this must have been very hard on many. We don’t want people to have to choose between heating their homes or having a meal. That is why this scheme is so important.”v