Councils to share £60m fund to help cut fuel poverty

Thousands of homes could benefit from a £60 million fund aimed at cutting fuel poverty, Housing Minister Margaret Burgess said.

The cash, part of the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS) will be used to improve the energy efficiency of houses by fitting measures such as solid wall, cavity or loft insulation.

Councils will each get a share of £42 million from the fund for this work, with the remaining £18 million made available to local authorities to develop large scale schemes.

The funding, which is being made available for 2014-15, is part of almost £250 million the Scottish Government is investing to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency over three years, Ms Burgess said.

The Housing Minister announced the investment on a visit to Annbank in South Ayrshire, where she met residents who have already had their homes improved.

She said: “This £60 million investment will help households in fuel poor areas stay warm and reduce their energy bills. In total, the Scottish Government will spend almost a quarter of a billion pounds over a three year period on fuel poverty and energy efficiency.

“Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this government. Today’s funding will see thousands of homes across Scotland receive new measures like solid wall insulation and help to drive down the number of people living in fuel poverty.”

She continued: ” This funding will be distributed across all of Scotland’s local authorities, including our rural and island areas and will include specific provision for households in rural areas currently finding it difficult to access the measures.

“The investment will also support and sustain the insulation industry in Scotland, generating work and supporting jobs.”