Scotland begins national drive to tackle fuel poverty

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has today (15 September) announced the launch of a £224m energy efficiency scheme to tackle the growing issue of fuel poverty across the country.

UP to 28,000 fuel-poor and vulnerable households could make their homes easier and cheaper to heat through the new national scheme, which is being delivered and managed by Warmer Homes Scotland over the next seven years.

Sturgeon said: “Through this scheme, the Scottish Government will deliver the best possible help to thousands of people who are blighted by fuel poverty, struggling to keep their homes warm and pay their energy bills.

“Warmer Homes Scotland is tailored to give vulnerable households living in fuel poverty access to measures to make their homes more energy efficient. Since 2009, we have allocated over half a billion pounds to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient, which has helped over 700,000 households reduce their fuel bills.”

‘Fairer country’

Warmer Homes Scotland will install measures such as insulation, heating and domestic renewables in households identified as fuel-poor, with a wider range of options for people living off the main gas grid including solar thermal and biomass systems.

It ihas been launched alongside the ‘Home Energy Scotland’ campaign which offers Scots a free phone hotline for advice on how to reduce heating bills.

Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil added: “Tackling inequality is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s commitment to creating a fairer country for all.

“Warmer Homes Scotland will help thousands of Scots on low incomes have homes that are easier and cheaper to heat. People living in our island and rural mainland communities will have the same chances to make their homes easier to heat as people living in urban areas.”

The Scottish Government has pledged to ensure that by November 2016, “so far as is reasonably practicable”, people are not living in fuel poverty in Scotland.

Growing issue

According to the latest Government figures, fuel poverty increased by 4% between 2012 and 2013, reaching 39.1% – 940,000 households. Comparing to the rest of the UK, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.35 million in 2013, representing approximately 10.4% of all English households.

Welcoming the launch of this new scheme, Energy Saving Trust director of government services Mike Thornton said: “This scheme helps householders who are struggling with their energy bills with really practical support, helping them right the way through the process from the time they call up through to when the work is done.

“Vulnerable householders will receive their own personal adviser and all customers will be supported through any complex issue or challenge they may face along the way.”

Luke Nicholls

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