POOR Scots will languish in cold homes for another 25 years unless ministers step up efforts to end fuel poverty, the Scottish Greens claim. Figures published earlier this month show 748,000 households struggle to power their homes. This marks an improvement on the previous year, when 845,000 households had difficulty with heating and lighting. However, the figure is still higher than in 1996, when fuel poverty was first measured, and the Scottish House Condition Survey found 738,000 households were in this category. Now the Greens claim it will take a quarter of a century to eradicate the problem unless the Scottish Government changes its policy. Two working groups have made more than 100 recommendations to the Scottish Government since it missed its target for ending fuel poverty in November. Norman Kerr, director of Energy Action Scotland, wants Holyrood to do more for rural areas and to “develop a new strategy set a new fuel poverty target and increase funding” for this work. He said: “The progress to date on solving the problem of cold, damp and unaffordable to heat homes must not be lost, but can and should be built upon.” Age Scotland deputy chief executive Keith Robson said low energy prices had masked the extent of the problem and warned of the impact of any hikes, saying: “We need a radical transformation of Scotland’s housing stock if we want to ensure that older people can live in safe, warm and comfortable homes which they can afford to heat.” The Greens want warm homes to become a national infrastructure priority, and Wightman called for action to “end the scandal of people being unable to heat their homes in energy-rich Scotland”.
The National 29th Dec 2016 read more »