New plans to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland, announced today (Wednesday 6th June) by Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Alex Neil, present a terrific opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of our homes and cut bills for the fuel poor, the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA) has said.
The SFHA is a member of the Scottish Government’s Fuel Poverty Forum and has consistently called for the introduction of a nationwide area-based scheme as the most efficient way to tackle the growing problem of fuel poverty (1).
Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure Alex Neil today made a statement in parliament outlining the Scottish Government’s response to a major report by the Fuel Poverty Forum, which set out a series of recommendations.
Welcoming today’s statement in parliament (2), David Stewart, Policy Manager at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA), said:
“The SFHA welcomes the publication of the interim report of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Forum and the Cabinet Secretary’s positive response to it.
“We welcome the announcement that the majority of Scottish Government funding will go into supporting a national retrofit programme to improve the energy efficiency of existing homes through area-based schemes – exactly what we have called for, and the best way to improve energy efficiency in existing homes, cut fuel poverty and reduce carbon emissions.
“Housing associations and co-operatives have the most energy-efficient homes in Scotland (3) and are leaders in improving the energy efficiency of existing homes and providing advice to tenants to help reduce their fuel bills and cut fuel poverty.
“We also welcome the Warm Homes Fund, which aims to support communities to develop renewable energy schemes to cut fuel poverty and provide a source of income. Housing associations such as Berwickshire and Ore Valley are developing such schemes, and our members have the skills and capacity to help support communities across Scotland with these schemes.”
Mr Stewart continued:
“We would stress both that the funding needs to be sufficient to improve Scotland’s housing, and that we believe it is necessary to set minimum energy efficiency standards for the private sector to cut fuel poverty in tenements and blocks in mixed ownership.
“The SFHA is encourages the Scottish Government to add to this funding by using European Structural funds to support energy efficient works to social housing, as the Welsh Assembly have in Wales to fund the successful Arbed programme (4).”
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1) Download a copy of the Fuel Poverty Forum’s report here http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Built-Environment/Housing/warmhomes/fuelpoverty/ScottishFuelPovertyForum
2) For more details of the statement contact Scottish Government contact Emma Innocent: 0131 244 2670 / 07825 926 512
3) Consumer Focus Scotland’s report, Turning Up the Heat: Benchmarking Fuel Poverty in Scotland, which notes that associations and co-operatives are the most energy-efficient housing sector in Scotland, is available at: http://www.consumerfocus.org.uk/assets/3/files/2009/10/Turning-up-the-Heat.pdf
4) For more information about the Arbed project is available HERE
5) SFHA is a member of the Existing Homes Alliance Scotland, which is calling for:
• A commitment to a National Retrofit Programme
• Investment of at least £100m per year over the next decade in improving the energy
• performance of housing
• The implementation of minimum standards of energy efficiency for existing private
• housing by 2015.
6) The SFHA was established in 1975 and has around 170 members providing affordable housing and wider community services in Scotland, as well as a further 200 commercial members. The SFHA is owned by its membership and exists to support the work of housing associations and co-operatives in Scotland by providing services, advice and good practice guidance.
7) The SFHA is the voice of the principal builders and managers of new affordable housing for rent in Scotland. Housing Associations own and manage around 40% of the country’s affordable rented housing stock, over a quarter of a million homes across Scotland.
8) Housing associations and co-operatives are not-for-profit bodies regulated by the Scottish Housing Regulator.