SNP MSP Joan McAlpine said the Scottish Government’s new energy efficiency scheme will help tackle fuel poverty in Dumfriesshire.
The ‘Warmer Homes Scotland’ scheme is designed to help people make their homes warmer and more comfortable by installing a range of energy saving measures such as wall insulation, loft insulation, draught-proofing, central heating and solar panels. Assistance is available to homeowners and private sector tenants who have lived in their property for at least six months and meet the qualifying criteria.
The south of Scotland MSP said:
“This is extremely welcome news for householders across Dumfriesshire as temperatures start to fall.
“Many of my constituents report struggling to heat their homes, particularly during the colder winter months. With the rising cost of living and the UK Government’s welfare cuts making life more difficult for the most vulnerable people in our region, householders are increasingly worried about how they will afford to pay their energy bills.”
A household is deemed to be in fuel poverty where they are spending over 10% of income on heating the home.
Due to the age of the housing stock and the higher proportion of properties off the gas grid, rates of fuel poverty are much higher in rural Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway has one of the worst rates in Scotland, with 45% of households deemed fuel poor (Scottish House Condition Survey, 2011-2013).
One study on fuel poverty in rural areas found that older adults are disproportionately affected, with 63% of over-60s in Dumfries and Galloway struggling to keep their homes warm enough (SRUC, 2014).
Commenting Ms McAlpine said:
“As long as energy is controlled from Westminster, householders in Scotland will continue to lose out. If we had the powers to regulate the energy sector, we could address the problem of rising energy prices and improve access to the gas grid in our country.
“As a result of the UK Government’s crippling austerity agenda, we have also seen a huge rise in the use of foodbanks – with many people now forced to make a choice between “heating or eating”. I am pleased that the Scottish Government has decided to launch this latest round of energy efficiency funding to mitigate the worst effects of heartless UK Government policies.”
Warmer Homes Scotland opened for applications on 1st September 2015. The scheme is funded by the Scottish Government and managed by the Energy Saving Trust. For more information and to check if you qualify, householders are asked to contact the Home Energy Scotland helpline on 0808 808 2282. Further details can be found here: http://www.greenerscotland.org/warm-homes/advice-grants/warmer-homes-scotland
SRUC (2014) ‘2014: Rural Scotland in Focus Report’, http://www.sruc.ac.uk/download/downloads/id/1961/rural_scotland_in_focus_2014_low_resolution
Scottish House Condition Survey (2013) ‘Scottish House Condition Survey – Local Authority Analyses 2011-2013’, http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SHCS/keyanalyses/LAtables2013