Thousands shiver in their homes
Thousands of families in Rutherglen and Cambuslang are living in ‘cold homes’ according to shocking new figures.
Statistics released on Monday by the Existing Homes Alliance show 20,500 households - or 59 per cent of all homes - in the Rutherglen constituency are classed as ‘unhealthily cold’.
A cold home is a home rated below a C EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) standard.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence ( NICE) has recommended that, as a minimum, properties should be raised to an EPC band C and ideally to a band B to help reduce the risk of death and ill health associated with living in a cold home.
It is also estimated 35 per cent of households in the constituency are living in fuel poverty.
In January, the Reformer reported that dozens of families in Rutherglen and Cambuslang were being forced to chose between heating and eating with 33 per cent spending more than a tenth of their total income on fuel.
Rutherglen and Cambuslang Citizens Advice Bureau this week revealed they dealt with 150 enquiries about fuel poverty in the first three months of 2016.
Manager Sharon Hampson said: “It’s the biggest issue we deal with here in terms of utilities and it’s getting to the stage where some families are having to pick between heating their homes and feeding themselves.
“Some of these companies put standing charges on their pre-pay metres so some people are paying £2 before they even switch anything on. We get clients asking if they can change to monthly payments but they get refused because the energy company makes too much money off them.
“It puts people into a vicious cycle of debt.”
In neighbouring East Kilbride, the percentage is even higher, with 60 per cent of households classified as ‘cold homes’ while in Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse, the figure is a whopping 64 per cent.
In the Glasgow Cathcart constituency, which covers Castlemilk, Croftfoot and King’s Park, the figure is 55 per cent of homes with 35 per cent living in fuel poverty.
And in Glasgow South, which contains Toryglen, the figures are 54 per cent and 38 per cent respectively.
Across Scotland, just under 1.5million homes are classified as ‘cold’ with seven constituencies having figures of above 75 per cent.
The Existing Homes Alliance is an umbrella organisation whose members include WWF Scotland, Changeworks, and the National Insulation Association,
The group’s chair, Alan Ferguson, said: “These figures show that if the next Scottish Government set an objective to bring all homes in Scotland to at least a ‘C’ energy performance standard by 2025, they could end the scourge of cold homes currently affecting thousands of households in every single parliamentary constituency across Scotland.”