£14m loan scheme launched to help tackle fuel poverty
Scotland’s most vulnerable households will receive help to make their homes cheaper to heat following a £103 million investment to tackle fuel poverty.
The funding includes a £14m loans scheme which will offer homeowners interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures.
The Scottish Government will also launch the next phase of its Cashback scheme which will see £10m made available to homeowners and private tenants, and £5m for social landlords.
Through the scheme private sector households will be able to claim up to £5,800 for installations recommended by an energy advice report, and households in remote areas will be entitled to greater amounts to cover the increased costs they face.
In 2014/15 1,700 social landlord tenants benefited from the Cashback scheme while it delivered 4,000 energy efficiency measures to 3,400 households in the private sector.
Those measures, combined with £65m for area based fuel poverty schemes and funding for support and advice to householders, takes the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency in 2015/16 to £103m.
Housing minister Margaret Burgess announced the investment on a visit to meet residents from Irvine Housing Association.
She said: “It is unacceptable that anyone should experience fuel poverty in Scotland which is why we are investing more than £103m to tackle this issue head on.
“Our new loan scheme will give homeowners the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans which will make it easier for them to take action and install energy efficiency measures in their properties. The loan can be used alongside the Cashback voucher. I’d encourage anyone with fuel poverty concerns to seek free and impartial advice by contacting Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
“Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient with over 700,000 households benefitting from measures like new boilers or insulation.
“The Scottish Government is determined to tackle the inequalities that exist in our society, and making sure everyone has access to a home where they can be safe and warm, is an essential part of this.”
Funding from the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes Scotland (HEEPS) over the past two years has given Irvine Housing Association the opportunity to install solid wall insulation in residents’ homes.
Nicola Thom, managing director of Irvine Housing Association, said: “In the last two years we have brought £4m of external investment funding to our Ayrshire communities. This year we were successful in securing £1.8m of Scottish Government funding to carry out energy efficiency works to owners’ properties in our communities and we are delighted to show the Minister the transformation.
“Whilst the visual impact transforms the look of the estate, ultimately these works were to improve the energy efficiency of the properties and reduce fuel costs for the residents.
“Each household stands to save an average of £200 per year and our Affordable Warmth Officer will be assisting residents to maximise on the savings and make best use of their new installations.”
Neil Marshall, chief executive of the National Insulation Association, which represents the insulation industry in Scotland, said: “We welcome and congratulate the Scottish Government on this new package of support which will enable thousands of households to receive insulation measures to combat fuel poverty whilst stimulating work for Scottish businesses.
“The Scottish Government is showing leadership and innovation in its approach to tackling fuel poverty and stimulating demand for energy efficiency amongst Scottish householders through the design of the new schemes, targeting hard to treat properties and the new interest free loans.
“What’s more, the fact that it includes another phase of the Cashback also provides much needed support to housing associations and councils in tackling their least efficient housing stock as they strive to work towards the recently announced EESSH standards.”