Bill Kidd, SNP MSP for the Glasgow region, in a parliamentary question to Alex Neil MSP, Minister for Housing & Communities, has raised the issue of fuel poverty in Glasgow.
In light of the recent weather conditions, Mr Kidd asked the minister what measures were being put in place to tackle fuel poverty in areas of multiple deprivation, in Glasgow and across Scotland.
This comes as the Scottish Government announced a renewed commitment to tackling fuel poverty and ensuring energy efficiency for homes throughout Scotland through the Energy Assistance Package - with a projected 10,000 additional families expected to benefit from the scheme. 2,196 people in Glasgow, the highest number in Scotland, have already been supported by the programme.
In response to Mr Kidd’s question, Alex Neil MSP answered: "The Scottish Government is helping people throughout Scotland to reduce their heating bills and keep their homes warm through the energy assistance package. Anyone can call 0800 512012 to obtain guidance on energy savings or check their entitlement to benefits and cheap tariffs.
Mr Kidd also raised his concerns regarding the UK Government’s proposal to abolish Attendance Allowance, and how this may impact on those susceptible to fuel poverty and in receipt of the benefit. If the benefit were removed, approximately 10,000 of the 25,000 recipients in Glasgow would face poverty.
In response to Mr Kidd’s question, the Minister said: "The Labour Government's proposals from London to abolish attendance allowance would be damaging to older people because that would reduce their incomes substantially - in some cases, by more than £70 a week. As attendance allowance was originally intended to be an anti-poverty measure, such a policy would be extremely regressive. It would put more and more pensioners in Scotland into fuel poverty."
Commenting, Mr Kidd said: "While the Scottish Government is doing all that it can to tackle fuel poverty, the UK Government is looking to cut attendance allowance—a vital life line for the most vulnerable in our society. It concerns me that such a move would leave these people facing poverty and cold in their homes, especially given the weather we’ve experienced this winter.
"The Scottish Government, however, remains committed to tackling fuel poverty and has committed £60 million to improving energy efficiency in homes in Glasgow and across Scotland through the Energy Assistance Package."
"I would urge people to use the service, by calling the free phone number 0800 512 012, or checking out the website www.energyassistancepackage.com."
1. Mr Kidd’s exchange with Alex Neil MSP, Minister for Housing & Communities can be found here.
2. Information on the Scottish Government’s Energy Assistance Package can be found online here.