An additional £20 million will be invested to cut fuel poverty and improve the energy efficiency of Scotland’s housing, Social Justice Secretary Alex Neil has confirmed, with £6 million earmarked for home energy efficiency programmes that will support measures such as solid wall, cavity or loft insulation.
An additional £14 million will be invested in low cost home energy efficiency loans available to households in the private sector to supplement existing grant schemes to help install energy efficiency measures.
This additional funding will take the Scottish Government’s investment to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency over the three years 2013/14 to 2015/16 to around £300 million. Details of the loan schemes will be announced shortly.
Neil said: “Fuel costs have risen six times faster than incomes since 2003. In 2013, fuel prices rose by 7%, pushing more people into fuel poverty. The fact that this is happening in an energy-rich country is outrageous.
“Given the recent reductions in energy costs, all energy providers must implement price cuts now.
“Over 700,000 households have benefited from measures like new boilers or insulation targeted in particular at those in or at risk of fuel poverty.”
Meanwhile, in England, up to one million tenants renting from a private landlord can look forward to warmer homes that cost less to heat, under new government plans.
From April 2018, landlords will be required by law to get their leakiest properties to an energy efficiency rating of at least Band “E”. Estimates suggest that on average the difference in a heating bill from the least energy efficient properties and those with an energy rating Band “E” is £880.
Fuel poor households living in the least efficient privately-rented homes already need to spend on average around £1,000 more to keep warm compared to the average home.
Ed Davey, UK Energy Minister, said: “These new laws will plug the gaps in draughty homes – helping households to keep warm and drive down bills.