Scottish Conservative manifesto includes £1bn housing energy efficiency spend

Ruth Davidson
Ruth Davidson

The Scottish Conservatives have set out plans to build 100,000 new homes across Scotland over the next five years.

Launched yesterday, the party’s manifesto for the Holyrood election also includes a £1 billion pledge to improve energy efficiency in homes.

Conceding that the manifesto is a programme for opposition and not for government, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said warm housing should be a key priority for the Scottish Government, with her party calling for £1bn of funding to go towards meeting a fresh target for every home to have an energy efficiency rating of “C” or better by the end of the decade.

The manifesto proposes that spending on energy efficiency should rise from less than 3 per cent of the Scottish Government’s capital budget to 10 per cent by the end of the next parliamentary term.

That would see funding rise from £80 million this year to £340m by 2020-21, and would amount to £1bn over the period, according to the Conservatives.

The party said more than six in 10 homes in Scotland are ranked average or worse in energy efficiency, which Ms Davidson said was adding hundreds of pounds to energy bills.

The Tory leader said: “We believe that making every home a warm home should be one of the Scottish government’s key priorities for infrastructure over the next five years.

“A real focus on this would cut fuel poverty, increase jobs, and would do so much to help us meet our carbon reduction obligations.

“It’s an example of the kind of positive contribution we want to make to Scotland over the next five years.”

The Scottish Conservatives also want to reintroduce Right to Buy in Scotland, ringfence all funds raised for future social housebuilding and introduce a Scottish welfare system with three basic principles at its heart. The party believes the system should primarily support the most vulnerable, be flexible and personalised and that should give those who can and want to work the opportunities and support to do so.

Other key pledges in the manifesto include pushing for repeal of the named person scheme, free university tuition and universal free prescriptions.

The party will also argue for £300m to be invested in improving mental health treatments.

The manifesto also commits the party to opposing a second referendum on independence over the course of the next parliament.

Commenting on the manifesto, WWF Scotland director Lang Banks said: “We’ve long called for all parties to bring forward policies to improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes, so we very much welcome the Scottish Conservatives’ pledge to significantly increase funding for this. Their commitment to support all homes to reach a minimum ‘C’ energy performance standard would help the 1.5million households currently living in a cold home. It’s good to see proposals to address the emissions that come from heating, but continued support for nuclear and fracking is a distraction when Scotland could be the EU’s first renewable electricity nation.”

The Scottish Greens have published their manifesto already, with the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Scottish Labour and the SNP expected to launch their manifestos in the next few days.

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