The promised additional £15 million on home energy efficiency announced today forms a first tentative step towards solving Scotland’s fuel poverty crisis. However, we are concerned that this funding may be threatened by the use of a discredited means-testing model.

It is shocking that – in the middle of the coldest winter for many years – most MSPs still do not seem to appreciate the importance of fully funding a Scotland-wide home energy efficiency scheme, including support for energy audits, insulation and appropriate microrenewables.

Fuel poverty affects over a quarter of Scottish households – dramatically affecting people’s health and well-being. An energy efficiency package would transform these households and would cost only a fraction of what the budget allocates to environmentally damaging expenditure – for example on new motorway building.

If the Government are serious about tackling this issue now they should be proposing significant investment in a proactive street-by-street insulation programme, not a complex means-tested bureaucracy.

Duncan McLaren, Chief Executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said:

“As Lord Stern has said, a green economic stimulus is urgent and essential. Substantial additional funding for a nationwide energy saving programme – creating jobs and cutting fuel poverty, energy bills and carbon emissions – was the acid test for this budget.” [1]

ENDS

Media contact: Owen Davis 0131 243 2719 (office) 0131 243 2715 (redirects to mobile)

NOTES

[1] Friends of the Earth Scotland believes that such a package should form the centrepiece of a counter-recessionary green economic stimulus, as supported by Lord Nicholas Stern, alongside increased investment in low carbon public transport (notably rail electrification, and support for walking and cycling); support for a smart electricity grid and smart metering in all homes; enhanced investment in renewable energy and in the development of carbon capture and storage technology. Lord Stern called for a green package equivalent to 0.8% of GDP – which for Scotland would mean over £650million.