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Housing Energy Efficiency

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:18 pm on 30th March 2000.

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Photo of Frank McAveety Frank McAveety Labour 12:18 pm, 30th March 2000

I will let Robin Harper in in a moment.

When the much-trumpeted issue of central heating systems in England is mentioned, it is as if everybody would require—or qualify for—that benefit elsewhere in the UK. In reality, it is targeted at a small number of pensioner households on income support. Many lone parents in England would not be eligible for the benefits that are provided through the warm deal in Scotland.

I also want to address some issues that were raised by Fiona Hyslop. We need to take on board the reports that will be produced over the coming period. They will inform the Parliament, the Social Inclusion, Housing and Voluntary Sector Committee and the other committees that have an interest in energy efficiency. I hope that parliamentarians will take on board, with the Executive, the shared agenda of tackling energy efficiency. I hope that we can progress many of the issues that have been raised today, not just in the committees but in the housing bill that will be introduced.

Euan Robson mentioned building regulations. We want to encourage owners to improve energy efficiency at refurbishment through advice that is produced as part of the energy efficiency best practice programme. We also want to examine a number of other areas within the building regulations. We hope to consult on those areas and take some views.

I am happy to receive input from members. Lloyd Quinan said that he had not received a reply from me. I will check whether that is the case, and I guarantee that he will get a response in future.

I think Robert Brown mentioned the Scottish Homes report and the national house condition survey. We will have those reports over the next period of time, and they will inform critically any response that we make. I hope that we can take on board any of the comments made within that report.

There is much on which we can work together with Robin Harper to tackle the bigger picture of fuel poverty. We want to work with organisations across Scotland to come up with something that will address many of the issues.

In my constituency, there is a substantial amount of housing that is below tolerable standard. On Friday afternoon, as part of my constituency duties, I met the Govanhill Housing Association, so I am being made aware, at a constituency level, that the issue is critical. It is about combining a whole series of measures, including ring fencing, and whether allocation within local authority housing budgets should be reintroduced to ensure that we have a planned programme. Admittedly, that would require discussion with COSLA and local government, but we hope to address that.

There are many other issues that I hope will influence us through the work of the Social Inclusion, Housing and Voluntary Sector Committee and other related committees. I hope that they will shape and influence some of the things that will emerge in the housing bill.

I commend the Executive amendment to the chamber.