Energy efficiency money simply not enough, says MP

Dumfries and Galloway has been allocated £1.7 million next year to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat.

The money comes from the Scottish Government’s Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland to help fuel poor and vulnerable households with energy efficiency improvements such as solid wall, cavity and loft insulation.

It is part of the Scottish Government’s £94 million energy efficiency budget next year and has a key role in tackling fuel poverty, but MP Russell Brown says it is not enough.

While welcomed, the investment has been branded as an insufficient sum.

The MP said that over 40% of households in some parts of Dumfries and Galloway are in fuel poverty and 63% of people over 60 in Dumfries and Galloway are in fuel poverty.

He added that new figures have also revealed that almost 1 million households or 2 million individuals in Scotland are living in fuel poverty.

Mr Brown added: “With so many households in fuel poverty, including 63% of older people in Dumfries and Galloway, I fear the funding the Scottish Government has provided will fail to make a significant difference. The number of people in fuel poverty in the region is increasing, not decreasing and this funding won’t reverse this.”

But Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said: “The Scottish Government is helping people keep their homes warm.

“We will spend £94 million across Scotland next year and this allocation will help households in the most fuel poor areas stay warm and cut energy bills.

“The Scottish Government can’t control fuel prices but we are investing in energy efficiency for homes.

“We have invested over £300 million since 2009 to make fuel poor homes more energy efficient and around one in three Scottish households, over 700,000, have now benefited from measures like new boilers or insulation.

“With winter weather taking hold across Scotland, I’d encourage anyone to seek free and impartial advice on how they can reduce their energy costs.