SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod today (Wednesday) welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government of a further £16 million investment in energy efficiency and insulation measures, targeted at the disabled and people on low incomes.
The additional money follows the announcement earlier this week of a £1.2 million fund for insulating energy inefficient properties across Dumfries & Galloway.
Dr McLeod commented:
“This is the second announcement of funding to tackle fuel poverty in as many days and a welcome indication of the Scottish Government’s determination to tackle the problem.
“This extra money will be added to the Government’s Energy Assistance Package and will be targeted specifically at people on low incomes and disabled people, and will help provide insulation and energy efficiency measures to cut fuel bills.
“This week the Scottish Government has announced a total of £79 million of investment to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland. The Scottish Government’s priority is to help poor and vulnerable people to the full extent of the limited powers it currently has but we could do so much more with the full powers of independence.”
Notes to Editors:
The Affordable Warmth element (now known as the Home Heating Cost Reduction Obligation) of the Energy Company Obligation in Scotland is now taking referrals through the Home Energy Scotland helpline. This will provide heating measures and insulation to poorer households in Scotland, funded by the energy companies. Those on certain qualifying benefits can get a service and Energy Savings Trust will work with DWP to check eligibility of households to enable them to access the energy company service.
Eligible households will include:
* Those receiving Child Tax Credit (threshold £15860)
* Those receiving State Pension Credit or older worker
* Those receiving Employment Support Allowance
* Those with a child under 16 and receiving certain benefits
* Those with a child under 20 in full time education and receiving certain benefits
* Those with a disabled child – defined by benefits
* Disabled workers – defined by benefits
* Disabled pensioners – defined by benefits
Further information on ECO is available on the DECC and Ofgem websites.
£16 million has been allocated for 2013-14 by the Scottish Government to extend stage 4 of the Energy Assistance Package for a further 2 years. The extended scheme will be focused on the most vulnerable and poorer households which are currently eligible for free heating and insulation under EAP but who would otherwise miss out on affordable warmth.
The reason they might miss out is that the UK-designed Energy Company Obligation scheme focuses its benefits on poorer groups in work. The Scottish Government scheme will preserve services for those:
* aged 60+ in households with qualifying benefits or no central heating
* with child aged under 16 with qualifying benefits
* on higher rate Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
* who are carers or terminally ill and others.
A further £3 million will be allocated to the Energy Savings Trust and others to help support the Home Energy Scotland hotline and the Energy Saving Scotland advice centres to provide advice and guidance to people about the energy efficiency of their homes and what support they may be eligible for.