Scotland’s most vulnerable households are to be hit hardest by the UK Government’s proposed changes to Energy Company Obligation (ECO), Holyrood MPs will be told today (23 Apr) in a debate in the Scottish parliament.
The UK Government’s own analysis states that spending by energy companies under the ECO is expected to be cut by around £500 million a year across Great Britain. This would mean a reduction of around £50 million a year in Scotland based on our population.
There will be a shift away from the kind of measures needed by many fuel poor households in Scotland, such as insulation for hard to treat cavities and solid walls, in favour of cheaper measures.
Speaking last night to Scottish Energy News ahead of today’s Fuel Poverty Debate, Scot-Government Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said:
“Changes to the UK Government’s ECO will significantly reduce resources, cutting expenditure in Scotland for energy efficiency and fuel poverty measures and will put further improvements in serious danger.
“The cut to ECO of around £50 million will have serious consequences for homes in fuel poverty and jobs in Scotland.
“Insulating hard to treat cavities and solid walls is essential to making progress in reducing emissions from housing and helping families struggling with energy bills.
“We believe that a more comprehensive and fairer service for those vulnerable to fuel poverty can be provided with a properly planned and Government funded service, working with delivery partners, which is our approach through the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland. This is far better than relying on the kind of market incentive system favoured by the UK Government.”
Norman Kerr, Director of fuel poverty charity, Energy Action Scotland, commented: “Some of the proposed changes to ECO actively serve to undermine how fuel poverty targets and aspirations can be realised.
“Given the scale and depth of fuel poverty, resources provided under ECO proposals are insufficient. The Scottish Government should commit the lion’s share of funding to tackle fuel poverty now and it is essential that they deliver their current budgets with no more underspend.”