Winter Heating Payments will be made to people in Scotland starting this week.

The cash, to help with heating bills during the colder months, is payable no matter the temperature and around 400,000 people qualify.

The Scottish Government said the money will be distributed in batches with the first payments this week and most people paid by the end of January.

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The £55.05 payment, targeted at people on low incomes, replaces the UK Government's £25 Cold Weather Payment that was dependent on the temperature falling to zero or below for seven consecutive days.

Shirley-Anne Somerville, Social Justice Secretary, said: “We are investing around £22 million this winter through Winter Heating Payments to support 400,000 people on low incomes across the country at a time when they are struggling with the cost of living crisis and higher energy bills.

“Our annual reliable payment will support people on low incomes with the costs of heating their homes throughout the winter. We know it is harder for these households to spend more money to heat their homes.

“The vast majority of people will receive the payment automatically either this month or next.”

To qualify, people need to have been receiving at least one of the following benefits during the week of November 6 -12.

Pension Credit, Income Support, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Universal Credit and Support for Mortgage Interest.