Central Heating Programme (Scottish Gas)

First Minister's Question Time – in the Scottish Parliament at 12:00 pm on 7th December 2006.

Alert me about debates like this

. John Scott (Ayr) (Con): To ask the First Minister what action it is taking to address the backlog of work that Scottish Gas inherited when it was awarded the contract for the central heating programme. (S2F-2600)

Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour

Officials in Communities Scotland have regular meetings with Scottish Gas to ensure that those who are eligible under the programme have the work carried out as quickly as possible. I understand that the targets will be met by 31 March. The communities ministers will meet Scottish Gas shortly to discuss progress with the programme.

Photo of John Scott John Scott Conservative

Will the First Minister confirm that, of the 6,000 or so central heating systems due to be installed by Scottish Gas between 1 October and the end of March 2007 under the new contract—in other words, 1,000 systems per month—fewer than 100 gas central heating systems and almost no electrical central heating systems have been installed in the past two months? What is he going to do to speed up the delivery of the programme, particularly outside the central belt of Scotland, where virtually no systems have been installed?

Photo of Rt Hon Jack McConnell Rt Hon Jack McConnell Labour

As I said, Communities Scotland is having regular meetings with Scottish Gas to speed up delivery and ensure that there is progress with the programme. The communities ministers will meet Scottish Gas soon to discuss the progress that is being made on programme as we move towards the end of March and the end of the financial year. We have a commitment from Scottish Gas that all the central heating systems that can be installed by the end of March under the current budget will be installed. It is precisely because of the demand for the systems that we have increased the budget by £5 million to ensure that more people have central heating this winter than would otherwise have been the case. That is, of course, a decision that will be implemented.

Meeting suspended until 14:15.

On resuming—