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I was shocked last week that the UK Government Minister responsible for the Cold Weather Payment scheme admitted in Parliament that she didn't know what the scheme was.

During ministerial questions last week I asked DWP Secretary of State Therese Coffey how it could be fair that thousands of my constituents were not receiving the payment after enduring weeks of freezing temperatures.

In response the Secretary of State appeared to admit she had never heard of the scheme, saying she was “not exactly sure what specific payment he is referring to”.

I can honestly say that of all the dismissive answers I might have expected from the Secretary of State I never expected her to actually admit she didn't know what a Cold Weather Payment was. The Cold Weather Payment is a limited but essential measure to help people on low incomes get through the winter. It's astonishing that the person who's supposed to be in charge of the government department that runs the scheme has no idea what it is.

Every year I raise the postcode lottery the UK Government is using to decide who is entitled to these payments because it's been disadvantaging my constituents for years. The Government claims that the whole KY6, KY7 and KY8 postcode area will be at the same temperature as Leuchars which is almost at sea level. They ignore the fact that places like Kennoway go up to over 300 feet above sea level and much of North Glenrothes is over 500 feet up. That makes a massive difference to the temperature and it makes a massive difference to people's heating bills.

The fact that the Secretary of State is not only unaware of this unfairness, she's never even heard of the payments themselves, shows how little the Tories care for people in Scotland.

Click here to see our exchange for yourself.

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