MP slams fuel poverty rate

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has expressed concern at the high level of fuel poverty in Dumfries and Galloway and criticised the Scottish Government for not focusing more resources in the region to tackle the problem.

The comments come on the back of a recent report by the Scottish Rural College which revealed that the region has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty in Scotland among the over 60s.

The report showed that where the highest income householder is aged 60+, 63% of local households are experiencing fuel poverty compared to an average of 59% for rural local authorities. For those households where the highest income householder is aged under 60, the rate was 27%.

The MP believes the figures should have meant the region received a higher proportion of the £60m announced this week by the Scottish Government to tackle fuel poverty.

Commenting on the news, Elaine Murray said: “These figures lay bare the full scale of the cost-of-living crisis many families in Dumfries and Galloway face. It is a disgrace that thousands of people in our region have been pushed into fuel poverty. Despite these figures showing our region has one of the highest rates of fuel poverty among over 60s, it is disappointing that the Scottish Government’s funding allocations do not reflect this fully.”

Mr Brown said: “Fuel poverty really plagues far too many people in Dumfries and Galloway. A lot of the housing stock is old and many homes in rural areas ore off-grid, so they do not have access to mains gas and have to rely on more expensive sources of energy. A significant proportion of our region is aged over 60 and the figures show that fuel poverty hits older people hardest. The funding allocation from the Scottish Government won’t even scratch the surface of the problem we face. We need to see more investment in home insulation and measures such as freezing gas and energy bills would offer real help to local people.”