Pensioner’s Winter Fuel Allowance would increase with inflation in an independent Scotland, say the Scottish National Party (SNP).

The SNP say that Winter Fuel Allowance (WFA) in Scotland would be increased in line with inflation for the very first time, in the event of a yes vote in the Scottish independence referendum next month.

According to the SNP, the WFA hasn’t increased from its current rate of £200 (for those under the age of 80) since 2001, despite rising energy bills. People over the age of 80 currently receive £300.

As well as linking the WFA to inflation, the SNP also say that the crucial payment, used to help older people cover the cost of heating their homes, would not be means-tested.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls unveiled plans in 2013 to means-test the WFA, should Labour win the next UK general election. The National Pensioners Convention described Labour’s plans as being “a dangerous precedent”.

Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy Leader of the SNP said:

“With the opportunity of independence we will ensure our pensioners continue to benefit from the Winter Fuel Allowance and that it keeps pace with the cost of living by increasing in line with inflation.

“A huge part of the rising cost of living is the rising cost of energy bills. With independence we will take action to reduce energy bills by at least £70 per household and we will not means test the winter fuel allowance like the labour party are planning to.

“A no vote means Scotland would face the £25bn of austerity cuts coming from Westminster. When even Labour are threatening to cut support for pensioners it is clear that only with a Yes vote can we uses Scotland’s wealth to support our older people, to take action on bills and to ensure our pensioners are protected.

“As pensioners across Scotland wake up to the opportunity of independence to provide a fairer deal for them and a brighter future for Scotland’s young people there is a real chance in this referendum to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”