Politicians welcome moves to reduce fuel poverty

ANGUS South MSP Graeme Dey and MP for Angus Mike Weir have welcomed the announcement that the SNP government is to spend £200 million on further driving down the rates of fuel poverty in Scottish homes by targeting ageing buildings.

Infrastructure and capital investment secretary Alex Neil said the current situation impacts particularly heavily on the elderly over the winter months.

He added that the government is determined to ensure that, in an energy rich nation such as Scotland, every effort is made to allow people to heat their homes without fear of not being in a position to afford it.

SNP MPs in Westminster have long argued that there needs to be action taken to prevent the ‘Big Six’ energy companies from pushing householders to the brink of poverty.

Mr Dey said: “It is unacceptable in 21st century energy-rich Scotland that we have people unable to pay their bills and living effectively on the breadline whilst energy companies reap ever-increasing profits year after year.

“This announcement by Alex Neil will go some way to help remedy this. Already we have had in place the Energy Assistance Package and Boiler Scrappage Scheme, but these new measures will go yet further.

“The Scottish Government working with energy companies to specifically target ageing homes will help to ensure that even more people will move out of fuel poverty.

“These properties lack the energy efficiency measures such as modern boilers and insulation that many people have already taken advantage of to drive down energy usage and bills.”

He concluded: “Residents across Angus will feel the benefit of this scheme, ensuring that more people are no longer left with the ransom of having to choose which of the vital necessities that they can afford.

‘Whilst the UK government has failed to take the necessary action on fuel poverty, this £200 million will help to ensure that, as far as possible, people in Scotland are not living in fuel poverty in 2016.”

Angus MP Mike Weir, SNP Westminster spokesperson on energy, added: “These measures are particularly welcome for rural areas in Angus where there are many homes that due to their method of construction and type of heating have not benefited from many previous attempts at energy efficiency and fuel poverty reductions.

“Dealing with these properties will make a real impact on the level of fuel poverty in Angus and Scotland.”

Fuel poverty is defined as spending 10 per cent or more of household income on domestic fuel bills.

Further information and advice on current schemes is available from the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Scotland Hotline, a one-stop shop for independent energy saving advice and support. Call 0800 512 012 or 0300 456 2655 from a mobile, or visit www.homeenergyscotland.org.uk