Energy Efficient Scotland

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 22nd November 2018.

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Photo of Paul Wheelhouse Paul Wheelhouse Scottish National Party

I thank Mr Burnett for unintentionally promoting me.

I certainly recognise that Parliament’s vote in May was significant, given the good debate that we had about the energy-efficient Scotland route map. We have been consulting on that route map over the summer; I hope that Alexander Burnett understands that we need to listen to the evidence that has been submitted to us.

It is not universally accepted that accelerating the programme will benefit either the outcomes that are being sought or the development of local supply chains. As I said in my statement, we heard during the consultation clear voices suggesting that we should pursue the original timescales.

We are keen to launch a consultation in January to seek views. I would welcome views from members all around the chamber, including Alexander Burnett, on how we can accelerate the programme so that it finishes earlier. However, the member must recognise the implications for inflation of costs of individual interventions in households. Costs will be driven up if we do not have in place a supply chain to respond over that timescale.

We also need to reflect the desire of local authorities and others to develop local economic opportunities, which I thought Alexander Burnett would have welcomed.

It is also the case that the work is not being done in isolation. We are continuing to invest heavily in our programmes through area-based schemes, which Kevin Stewart leads on, and through the non-domestic estate, in which we are investing almost £30 million this year. Over this session of Parliament we will invest £500 million. I point out to Alexander Burnett that that is significant public investment at a time when there is no equivalent scheme in England.