McArthur: Fuel poverty funds a “patch up job”

Responding today to an announcement from the Housing Minister that £10 million will be made available for  energy efficiency standards, Scottish Liberal Democrat Energy Spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:

“With around 850,000 households estimated to be in fuel poverty, the scale of the challenge we face in tackling this problem is significant.  Any funding to help meet that challenge is welcome, but today’s announcement seems like a patch up job after Ministers raided the fuel poverty budget to the tune of £16m earlier in the year.

“Families across Scotland, particularly in rural and island communities, have not forgotten that cash grab. They will rightly question whether the Minister is showing anything like the necessary ambition or investment to address the problem.

“There is also no information from the Minister on where the money is actually going to be spent, despite expert calls this week to “rural proof” Scottish Government investment and priorities.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to call for a Warm Homes bill and the establishment of catch-up zones to deliver resources to those communities with the highest levels of fuel poverty”.

Notes - Last year, just days after returning from the landmark climate change talks in Paris, the Scottish Government announced that it would reduce spending on tackling  Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency in 2016-17 by £15.7m (13%) compared to the final budget for 2015-16. Despite the announcement of £10 million today, the Fuel Poverty/Energy Efficiency Final Budget for this year is still £6 million less than spending in 2015-2016. 

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