Scottish Government urged to reverse fuel poverty budget cut

Alan Ferguson
Alan Ferguson

The Existing Homes Alliance has called on the Scottish Government to reverse its decision to cut the fuel poverty/energy efficiency budget.

The call follows claims by Scottish Labour that the SNP is planning to cut the country’s fuel poverty budget by up to £15 million in the next year.

In advance of deputy first minister John Swinney MSP giving evidence to the economy, energy and tourism committee of the Scottish Parliament on the Draft Budget 2016-17, Alan Ferguson, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, said: “It is clear from the Draft Budget that the Scottish Government currently plan to spend over £15m less on tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency next year, compared to what they are spending during the current financial year. That is particularly disappointing as it follows a new commitment from the Scottish Government to take a longer-term, ‘transformational’ approach to improving the energy efficiency of Scotland’s homes, through making energy efficiency a National Infrastructure Priority.

“We believe that next year’s energy efficiency budget needs to be sufficient to maintain existing programmes and should begin to reflect the new National Infrastructure Priority commitment. The Scottish Government appear to agree, saying that they will deliver existing programmes and trial new approaches. As the Scottish Government works with the Parliament to redraft its budget over the coming months, they should find the cash to improve upon their Draft Budget so that they can deliver on these commitments.

“With Scotland’s high rate of fuel poverty currently showing little sign of improving, we are calling on all of Scotland’s political parties to set out a plan in their manifestos for abolishing cold homes in Scotland, through national infrastructure and fuel poverty programmes that support all homes to reach at least a C energy performance standard by 2025. No other investment can do so much, particularly in a tight budget situation, to cut energy bills for the fuel poor, create 8-9,000 jobs all over Scotland, reduce climate emissions and improve physical and mental health.”

Mr Swinney will be giving evidence to the Economy, Energy and Tourism Committee from 9.30am this morning.

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