ONE in four households in Scotland lives in fuel poverty and campaigners have called on the Scottish Government to allocate more funding in this year’s Budget to tackle the problem.
Housing, environmental and anti-poverty groups said this would secure a “triple win”, improving people’s homes, creating jobs and cutting climate emissions.
The Existing Homes Alliance, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Living Rent want funding to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency to be increased to £244 million for the coming year, up from the £145.6m allocated so far.
With a quarter of households living in fuel poverty, they cited Scottish Government research anticipating the problem will increase as a result of the pandemic to affect nearly 30% of the population.
They said our homes are responsible for 15% of Scotland’s annual climate emissions and there was the potential to create up to 17,000 jobs in energy efficiency across the country.
“As it stands, the Budget falls well short of what is needed to meet the Scottish Government’s own targets and transform homes, tackle fuel poverty, and cut the climate impact of our heating systems,” said Lori McElroy, chair of the alliance.
“The Scottish Government has just published a Heat in Buildings Strategy, with a bold target for over a million homes to be energy efficient and zero emissions from heat by 2030, and a commitment that no-one is left behind in this transition.
“Scotland’s successful energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes are ready to scale up and improve thousands more homes, but they need an urgent cash boost to do so.”
Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s climate and energy campaigner, said: “The Scottish Government recently announced they were going to spend £1.6 billion across the entire energy efficiency sector, but that is to be spread over five years, and very little of that new cash actually will be spent in this year’s Budget.
“Choosing to invest in warmer homes can create a triple win for jobs, public health and the fight against climate change … With the right Government scheme and an immediate cash boost, up to 17,000 green jobs could be created, many of them quickly and spread right across Scotland.”
Ellinore Folkesson, chair of Living Rent, Scotland’s tenants’ union, added: “Tenants across Scotland are having to choose between eating and turning on the heating, especially now as the pandemic has squeezed people’s income.
“Investment in energy efficiency across the sector is sorely needed to improve people’s living conditions, and the Scottish Government must ensure there is support in place to improve rented homes without tenants having to foot the bill.”
— to www.thenational.scot