McArthur: Ministers must raise ambition in fight to eradicate fuel poverty

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP has called on the Scottish Government to raise its ambition in the fight to eradicate fuel poverty.

The call comes as the Scottish Government finally published its response, due last month, to the 100 plus recommendations of two export advisory groups.

The publication follows in the wake of official figures last week that revealed that fuel poverty levels are on the increase.  Mr McArthur’s own Orkney constituency remains worst affected, with two thirds of island households deemed “fuel poor”. Meanwhile, in Argyll & Bute, Highland, Moray and Fife fuel poverty levels jumped by up to 8%.

Commenting Mr McArthur said:

“When so many households still face the impossible choice between heating or eating, the Scottish Government’s claim today that good progress has been made in tackling fuel poverty seems insensitive at best.

“Ministers should not need reminding that the commitment to eradicate fuel poverty by November 2016 was comprehensively missed.

“The announcement today appears to lack ambition.  The offer of a pilot to target support to rural homes is welcome, but only hints at the level of action that is required. It fails to provide a strong commitment to embed responsibility for tackling fuel poverty right across government and to “rural-proof” future fuel poverty programmes.

“As the fuel poverty strategy is consulted on later this year, Scottish Liberal Democrats will continue to urge Scottish ministers to raise their ambition and prioritise action for areas worst affected.”

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