‘HIGHLAND CONTROL ROOM CLOSURE SHOULD BE HALTED DURING HMICS REVIEW’ – CADDICK

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SHOCKING RISE IN HIGHLAND FUEL POVERTY


Highland Lib Dem councillor and Scottish Parliament Candidate Angela MacLean has spoken out against SNP Ministers today for their continual denial over the extent of fuel poverty in Scotland, as new figures show a staggering 55% of households in the Highlands remain fuel poor.

The latest Scottish Housing Statistics survey reveals a widening gap between urban areas and remote northern and island areas, where levels increased between 2013 and 2014. Figures for the Highlands are only second to the Northern and Western Isles.

 

In the Highlands, 23% of households are in extreme fuel poverty – meaning they require more than 20% of their income to pay for fuel. The figures fly in the face of SNP Ministers’ continual denial that the Scottish Government’s November 2016 target for eradicating fuel poverty in Scotland will not be met.

 

Angela MacLean said: “I go into homes where people have to put on an extra jumper to keep warm because they've been forced to turn the heating down. Many people in the Highlands are struggling to pay their energy bills and rather than helping, the Scottish Government seen happy to ignore these figures.  

 

“By eradicating fuel poverty here, we would reduce the financial burden on the NHS, ensure our children have somewhere warm to do their homework and guarantee elderly people in our communities don’t have to struggle to stay comfortable in their own homes.”

 

Scottish Liberal Democrat energy spokesman Liam McArthur MSP said: “In 2016, the year fuel poverty is due to be eradicated in Scotland, no-one should have to make the choice between eating and heating because they cannot afford both.

 

“These figures show major regional differences and a widening gap between urban areas and remote areas like our island communities, where fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty levels have gone up substantially.

 

“I simply cannot understand why SNP Ministers refuse to acknowledge that they are set to miss their target.  It is as if they are determined to bury their heads in the sand. By doing so, however, they are causing more problems and delaying the opportunity to identify solutions to what is a very real threat to public health.

 

“Scottish Liberal Democrats want cross-party support to achieve a warmer healthier home for every single person in Scotland. But that can only start once the SNP recognise that the November 2016 will not be met and that a revised strategy is needed.  Ministers must also look confirm that the proposed 13% cut in fuel poverty spending will not go ahead.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to editors:

 

The fuel poverty tables broken down by local authority and comparing statistics between 2013 and 2014 are below, further breakdowns by household type are available here.

 

Mr McArthur lodged the following written Parliamentary Question last week:

Question S4W-29497: Liam McArthur, Orkney Islands, Scottish Liberal Democrats, Date Lodged: 26/01/2016

To ask the Scottish Government when the next Scottish House Condition Survey will publish the percentage of fuel poor households broken down by local authority area.

 

Official statistics previously showed “no real change” in the overall level of fuel poverty across Scotland between 2013 and 2014, with 34.9% of all households in fuel poverty.

At the Scottish Liberal Democrat Spring Conference at the end of February, members will discuss the introduction of catch-up zones, which would provide targeted support for remote areas struggling to address fuel poverty. The relevant part of the motion states:

 

Conference calls for the Scottish Parliament elected in May 2016 to take steps to tackle climate change by:

1.          Using its new powers, to address fuel poverty and support warmer homes, including by introducing new catch-up zones in remote areas where more flexibility is required in the delivery of effective support for hard to heat homes.

 

Local Authority

Fuel poverty 2011-13 (% of households)

Extreme fuel poverty 2011-13 (% of households)

Fuel poverty 2012-14 (% of households)

Extreme fuel poverty 2012-14 (% of households)

Aberdeen

30

8

29

9

Aberdeenshire

43

17

39

14

Angus

37

11

42

13

Argyll & Bute

43

14

40

14

Clackmannanshire

35

8

32

7

Dumfries & Galloway

45

14

46

15

Dundee

42

11

41

7

East Ayrshire

35

8

38

9

East Dunbartonshire

33

9

28

6

East Lothian

34

9

33

7

East Renfrewshire

33

11

32

10

Edinburgh

26

7

25

6

Eilean Siar

62

24

62

26

Falkirk

32

5

28

7

Fife

34

11

36

11

Glasgow

36

8

34

8

Highland

50

18

55

23

Inverclyde

38

4

43

6

Midlothian

31

8

30

7

Moray

36

13

40

12

North Ayrshire

39

8

40

9

North Lanarkshire

41

7

34

6

Orkney

58

28

63

30

Perth & Kinross

35

10

38

12

Renfrewshire

29

7

29

7

Scottish Borders

43

12

39

14

Shetland Islands

43

13

53

19

South Ayrshire

39

12

35

9

South Lanarkshire

33

8

30

7

Stirling

38

13

34

10

West Dunbartonshire

30

5

29

6

West Lothian

23

4

29

5

 


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