Western Isles MSP backs fuel poverty bill in Parliament

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Western Isles Alasdair Allan earlier this week backed the Fuel Poverty Bill at Stage 1 in the Scottish Parliament.

The islands MSP spoke in the chamber and raised fuel poverty issues relating specifically to the Western Isles.

The Bill sets a target for the reduction of fuel poverty to no more than 5% by 2040. It also creates a new definition for fuel poverty which will work for people across Scotland, especially those on low incomes.

Alasdair Allan said: “Fuel poverty remains significant in the Western Isles. I was pleased to contribute to the debate in the Scottish Parliament about that issue.

“I welcome the Bill and the Scottish Government’s commitment to making it work in the islands.

“There are specific circumstances we face in the islands – these include the windchill factor, which is not currently recognised in the system of cold weather payments; there is the ageing population factor; the predominance of detached houses, and the general unavailability of mains gas. They are on top of low incomes, the flawed universal credit rollout, a shortage of affordable rented housing and the spiralling cost of energy.

“The Scottish Government is working to tackle fuel poverty, but there is work that the UK Government need to do as well. Benefit reforms, and rising fuel costs are within the remit of the UK Government, and they must challenge these factors.

“This Bill is a significant step in battling the scourge of fuel poverty, making homes warmer, greener and more energy efficient.”