WESTERN Isles MSP Alasdair Allan has today (Thursday, June 7th) welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement of a national campaign to lift households out of fuel poverty, and pointing to the particular problem that many families in the islands have in heating their house.
Dr Allan said: “Scotland is one of the most energy-rich nations on the planet so it is completely unacceptable that rising energy bills mean that many people are struggling to keep warm in winter. “The Western Isles in particular suffers from extreme fuel poverty, with many people simply unable to afford to heat their homes properly.
“Recent estimates put the number of people in the islands who spend more than 10% of their income heating their homes at 60% - the worst figure in the whole of the UK.”
Following a report from the Fuel Poverty Forum, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Alex Neil yesterday announced that the Scottish Government will work alongside energy companies to identify £200million a year to assist those households which need it most to save money and become more energy efficient.
Dr Allan continued: “This is a significant investment by the Scottish Government and a clear statement of the SNP’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty.
“Households across Scotland are facing increasing pressures with energy costs increasing to levels that have never been seen before. This investment will, I believe, help to alleviate the pressure on struggling households across the country.
“The money which will be spent on this programme will tackle fuel poverty at its source, and make a massive difference to hard-working householders who shouldn’t have to worry about paying their next heating bill.
“There are few if any subjects which people raise with me more often than the difficulties of heating a house,” he added. “I hope that this investment, together with other measures such as the Energy Assistance Package, will help alleviate what everyone now accepts is a chronic problem for Scotland’s island communities.”