Investment now will save more in future
Housing, environmental and anti-poverty organisations are calling on the Scottish Government and opposition parties to put more money for energy efficiency into this year’s budget.
The Existing Homes Alliance, Friends of the Earth Scotland and Living Rent are calling for funding to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency to be increased to £244million for the coming year, up from just £145.6m allocated so far.
By doing so they would secure a “triple win” and improve people’s homes, create jobs and cut climate emissions.
One in four households in Scotland live in fuel poverty - the Scottish Government’s own research states that fuel poverty is expected to increase as a result of the pandemic, affecting nearly 30% of the population.
The Scottish Government recently published their proposed budget for 2021/22 and negotiations are now underway with opposition parties to approve the final spending plan.
Lori McElroy, chair of the Existing Homes Alliance, a coalition of housing, environmental, anti-poverty, energy advice and industry organisations, said: “As it stands, the budget falls well short of what is needed to meet the Scottish Government’s own targets and transform peoples’ homes, tackle fuel poverty, and cut the climate impact of our heating systems.
“The Scottish Government has just published a Heat in Buildings Strategy, with a bold target for over a million homes to be energy efficient and zero emissions from heat by 2030, and a commitment that no-one is left behind in this transition.
“Scotland’s successful energy efficiency and fuel poverty programmes are ready to scale up and improve thousands more homes, but they need an urgent cash boost to do so.”
Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate and Energy Campaigner Caroline Rance said: “The Scottish Government recently announced they were going to spend £1.6billion across the entire energy efficiency sector, but that is to be spread over five years, and very little of that new cash actually will be spent in this year’s budget. Choosing to invest in warmer homes can create a triple win for jobs, public health and the fight against climate change.
“These are the type of positive transformations we must make towards creating a greener, fairer Scotland as we build back from covid. With the right Government scheme and an immediate cash boost, up to 17,000 green jobs could be created, many of them quickly and spread right across Scotland.”
Ellinore Folkesson, chair of Living Rent, Scotland’s Tenants’ Union said: “Tenants across Scotland are having to choose between eating and turning on the heating, especially now as the pandemic has squeezed people’s income. Many are living in cold, damp homes and suffering from health problems as a result.
“Investment in energy efficiency across the sector is sorely needed to improve people’s living conditions, and the Scottish Government must ensure there is support in place to improve rented homes without tenants having to foot the bill. This could form the cornerstone of a green recovery and represent a crucial opportunity not to be missed.”