Poll backs call to spend more on homes to end fuel poverty
Charity says better energy efficiency would help health
CAMPAIGNERS have called for more public money to be spent on making Scotland’s homes energy efficient after a new poll found there was overwhelming backing for the plans which would slash fuel poverty.
WWF Scotland said the results of a poll it commissioned of 1,000 people in Scotland found 69 per cent agreed that more money needs to be spent on home energy efficiency, with a further 87 per cent backing an end to cold homes by 2025.
The environmental charity wants to see funding for energy efficiency boosted to £190 million, with £4.5 billion of public funds being spent between now and 2025 through subsidised loans, grants for the fuel-poor and other schemes.
WWF says that while the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2017-18 proposes a year-on-year increase in spending on fuel poverty and home energy efficiency to £114m, it falls short of the £119m spent in 2015-16.
The charity’s director, Lang Banks, said: “Improving energy efficiency will lift people out of fuel poverty and improve their health, stimulate the economy, create jobs and cut climate change emissions.
“The Scottish Government already has all the powers it needs to improve the quality of the homes we live in.
“We now need to see a commitment that it will put in place funding to support all homes to reach the energy performance certificate band C standard by 2025.”
Mr Banks pointed out that about 748,000 households north of the Border are currently living in fuel poverty and the polls showed that Scots believe this was not acceptable and “want to see more being done to end the scourge of cold, damp homes.”
Royal College of Nursing Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: “Far too many of our homes are still cold, damp, and unhealthy places to live in.
“Nursing staff see the health consequences of this every day in the thousands of people who live in unfit houses and pay a high price of avoidable and persistent illnesses, or treatments they never should have required.”
Shelter Scotland director Graeme Brown said a new fuel poverty target and strategy was “urgently required” .
Norman Kerr, director of the national fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said it was “clearly not acceptable that anyone should have to live in a cold, damp home in Scotland today”.
Scottish Greens’ housing spokesman and Lothian MSP, Andy Wightman, said: “The findings of this poll could not be clearer.
“People in Scotland want immediate action on ensuring that no one has to live in a cold home by 2025.
“That’s a reasonable deadline to aim for, but it will only be met if the Government shows willingness to take immediate action.”
Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “This poll shows that an overwhelming majority of the public support the Scottish Government’s work to reduce energy demand in our residential, services and industrial sectors.”
He said more than £140m is being invested in 2016/17 as part of an attempt to make £500,000 available in funding for energy efficiency measures over the next four years.
‘‘ People in Scotland want immediate action on ensuring that no one has to live in a cold home by 2025