Westminster energy payments ignore the highland climate

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Nikki Marr, Westminster, London
Nikki Marr, Westminster, London

Cool, right? There are times, in passing, I wish I could be an Osprey. Not only to be able to fly, get rid of my kids after three months of parenting, and live in a house/nest with stunning views of Loch Afrik, but so that I can fly south for the winter and escape one of the harshest aspects of living in the Highlands – the weather.

To be honest I find very few negatives to living up north. That’s why I’ve been here for over 25 years and intend to stay. But the idea of ​​feeling the sun on my skin from October to April is alluring. Even a few degrees warmer will do.

Does the warmer 27C sound tempting? Save this idea.

Now we are in the grip of Aries Snow. Here in Inverness, we don’t yet have the snow cover that was predicted, despite the cooler temperatures. low way. But this is all part of the life of the Highlanders. We were born to deal with it, right?

Well, yes… and no.

A cool, breezy walk, lapping through frozen puddles on a blue-sky winter’s day, can be one of the most rejuvenating and cobweb-blowing ways to restore perspective after a week on your laptop.

But if you’re elderly, infirm, unable to leave the house, or caring for someone who has limited mobility and struggles to stay warm, our frigid highland temperatures are hardly cause for celebration.

Cold spells can truly be life threatening, especially during the current fuel price crisis. Subzero days and nights mean we need to keep the radiators running, but we all understand the terrible choices some families make between heating or eating.

As Kate Forbes has often said during the current SNP leadership race, one in four children in Scotland lives in poverty and will go to bed cold and hungry tonight.

The reasons for this are complex and manifold and will not be resolved by a single policy change. There is no “one size fits all” solution. But it’s shameful.

As I write, I’m warm. I’m in Inverness, sitting in front of an open fire dressed in four layers. Central heating will be turned on again at about 4pm.

Today outside temperatures didn’t even hit 4C inside my fridge, and it’s expected to drop below zero in the Highland capital overnight. I’ll make sure my electric blanket is on before I go to bed. I’m not taking any chances, but it would be double digits below zero in the country valleys.

And while these temperatures are by no means unusual for us, they are affecting more than ever, given the astronomical prices we pay for gas, electricity, and oil. Perhaps this is not the first time they have highlighted another difference between the North and the South. our climates.

Click here to read more by Nikki Marr

Last Wednesday night, the temperature in the downpour in Sutherland was -16°C. By contrast, at Newquay in Devon, it was a mild 11°C. I can’t remember the last time we felt 11°C hot here during the day, let alone at night.

I don’t expect our elected leaders to be able to change the weather, but I want them to pay attention to it. Because despite a 27°C difference in temperatures overnight last week, the UK government thinks it can counteract our country’s high fuel prices with an all-inclusive £400 energy bill subsidy scheme.

Don’t get me wrong, the £66 a month we all received was very welcome, but it didn’t really touch aspects of the increase in my heating bills, nor in yours either, as I would expect. £400 applied globally, regardless of income. and the same sum was offered to the comparatively few of the daydwellers, and the same to the inhabitants of Newquay… all with a milder climate.

To add insult to injury, there is no gas mains in Nahara, so the cost of heating homes with oil – if you can convince someone to come and fill the tank – is even higher than with gas.

I wonder which house they used, as a criterion to see if £400 for the winter was adequate compensation? Not mine, not yours, and certainly not one in the antagonism.

In our diverse nations in the UK, one size does not fit all. Once again Westminster sells open deal in the north of Scotland.

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