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03/04/15 10:00

Over £100 million to fight fuel poverty

New loan scheme combines vouchers and grants to improve energy efficiency.

Scotland’s most vulnerable households will receive help to make their homes warmer and cheaper to heat thanks to a £103 million investment to tackle fuel poverty.

This funding includes a new £14 million loans scheme which will offer homeowners interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures.

The Scottish Government will also launch the next phase of its Cashback scheme which will see £10 million made available to homeowners and private tenants, and £5 million for social landlords.

Through the scheme private sector households will be able to claim up to £5,800 for installations recommended by an energy advice report, and households in remote areas will be entitled to greater amounts to cover the increased costs they face. In 2014/15 1,700 social landlord tenants benefitted from the Cashback scheme while it delivered 4,000 energy efficiency measures to 3,400 households in the private sector.

These measures, combined with £65 million for area based fuel poverty schemes and funding for support and advice to householders, takes the Scottish Government’s commitment to tackling fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency in 2015/16 to £103 million.

Housing Minister Margaret Burgess announced the investment on a visit to meet residents from Irvine Housing Association. She said:

“It is unacceptable that anyone should experience fuel poverty in Scotland which is why we are investing more than £103 million to tackle this issue head on.

“Our new loan scheme will give homeowners the opportunity to apply for interest-free loans which will make it easier for them to take action and install energy efficiency measures in their properties. The loan can be used alongside the Cashback voucher.

“I’d encourage anyone with fuel poverty concerns to seek free and impartial advice on how they can reduce their energy costs or how to receive support for home insulation, boilers or central heating, by contacting Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.

“Since 2009 we have allocated over half a billion pounds to make Scotland’s homes more energy efficient with over 700,000 households benefitting from measures like new boilers or insulation.

“The Scottish Government is determined to tackle the inequalities that exist in our society, and making sure everyone has access to a home where they can be safe and warm, is an essential part of this.”

Funding from the Home Energy Efficiency Programmes Scotland (HEEPS) over the past two years has given Irvine Housing Association the opportunity to install solid wall insulation in residents’ homes.

Nicola Thom, Managing Director of Irvine Housing Association said:

“In the last two years we have brought £4 million of external investment funding to our Ayrshire communities. This year we were successful in securing £1.8 million of Scottish Government funding to carry out energy efficiency works to owners’ properties in our communities and we are delighted to show the Minister the transformation.

“Whilst the visual impact transforms the look of the estate, ultimately these works were to improve the energy efficiency of the properties and reduce fuel costs for the residents.

“Each household stands to save an average of £200 per year and our Affordable Warmth Officer will be assisting residents to maximise on the savings and make best use of their new installations.”

Neil Marshall , Chief Executive of the National Insulation Association which represents the insulation industry in Scotland said:

“We welcome and congratulate the Scottish Government on this new package of support which will enable thousands of households to receive insulation measures to combat fuel poverty whilst stimulating work for Scottish businesses.

“The Scottish Government is showing leadership and innovation in its approach to tackling fuel poverty and stimulating demand for energy efficiency amongst Scottish householders through the design of the new schemes, targeting hard to treat properties and the new interest free loans.

“What's more, the fact that it includes another phase of the Cashback also provides much needed support to housing associations and councils in tackling their least efficient housing stock as they strive to work towards the recently announced EESSH standards.”

Notes to editors

£103 million breakdown:

  • £65 million for the Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland Area Based Schemes - provides grant funding to local authorities to develop and deliver local fuel poverty programmes. The breakdown for each local authority is below:

Local Authority

Allocation

Aberdeen City

£2,438,000

Aberdeenshire

£3,233,000

Angus

£1,238,000

Argyll and Bute

£1,987,000

Clackmannanshire

£795,000

Dumfries and Galloway

£2,000,000

Dundee City

£2,647,000

East Ayrshire

£1,922,000

East Dunbartonshire

£772,000

East Lothian

£552,000

East Renfrewshire

£374,000

City of Edinburgh

£3,582,000

Eilean Siar

£1,733,000

Falkirk

£1,522,000

Fife

£2,609,000

Glasgow City

£6,915,000

Highland

£2,379,000

Inverclyde

£1,584,000

Midlothian

£1,058,000

Moray

£985,000

North Ayrshire

£2,274,000

North Lanarkshire

£2,986,000

Orkney Islands

£1,343,000

Perth and Kinross

£2,019,000

Renfrewshire

£3,920,000

Scottish Borders

£1,870,000

Shetland Islands

£1,048,000

South Ayrshire

£1,608,000

South Lanarkshire

£2,806,000

Stirling

£2,036,000

West Dunbartonshire

£1,143,000

West Lothian

£1,622,000

£65,000,000

  • £15 million for the HEEPS: Cashback vouchers scheme - £10 million will be available for individual households for vouchers of up to £5,800 (more in remote and rural areas) to install energy efficiency measures like solid wall insulation, while £5 million will be available for social landlords. Funding for social landlords will be prioritised for those with off-gas properties to ensure those social tenants in the least energy efficient properties needing most assistance are able to receive it. Over 20 social landlords are expected to benefit from this funding.
  • £14 million for HEEPS loans, giving homeowners interest-free loans of up to £10,000 for energy efficiency measures.
  • £9 million for support and advice to householders through the Home Energy Scotland network which is available by contacting 0808 808 2282 or visiting the website: www.homeenergyscotland.org

The new HEEPS: Loans scheme and additional £5 million for the HEEPS: ABS are part of the additional £20 million funding to target fuel poverty, announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney during the budget debate on February 4.

The HEEPS: Cashback was formerly known as the Green Homes Cashback scheme. Measures have to be recommended on a Green Deal Advice Report and installed by a company with the proper accreditation.

Both the Cashback and Loans scheme will open on April 13. Advice for applicants will be available on the Home Energy Scotland website or at 0808 808 2282.