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Fuel Poverty (North Ayrshire)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th December 2019.

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Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what action it has taken to address fuel poverty in North Ayrshire. (S5O-03911)

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

We are committed to tackling fuel poverty across Scotland. The Fuel Poverty (Targets, Definition and Strategy) (Scotland) Act 2019, which Parliament passed unanimously earlier this year, sets statutory targets for reducing fuel poverty by 2040 at both national and local authority level.

We will publish our strategy next September, setting out how we intend to meet those targets. In the meantime, we are already investing significantly in tackling fuel poverty.

We are on track to deliver our commitment to make £0.5 billion available over the four years to 2021 to tackle fuel poverty and improve energy efficiency. That is being delivered through our home energy efficiency programmes for Scotland, including our area-based schemes, which are delivered in conjunction with local authorities. Since HEEPS ABS began, over 2,000 households in North Ayrshire have benefited from more than £10 million of investment.

Photo of Ruth Maguire Ruth Maguire Scottish National Party

The minister will have received my letter, which highlighted the concerns that constituents in Bourtreehill have raised around the energy efficiency work that was carried out by the local housing association. One household reported that the cavity wall insulation had been removed and had not been replaced. Getting to a resolution to that issue between the housing association and the contractor is proving challenging. Can the minister provide advice or assistance that will help me ensure that my elderly constituents are not left in cold, uninsulated houses this winter?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I am aware of the case that Ruth Maguire refers to. I am sorry to hear of the constituents’ concerns about the energy efficiency improvements that are being made to a neighbouring property. My understanding is that the work has been commissioned by a local housing association for one of the properties. I am not aware of funding being provided by the Scottish Government through our HEEPS area-based schemes or any other channel. I will write to Ms Maguire in more depth on the issue and I hope that the matter can be resolved by the housing association as soon as possible.

Photo of Jamie Greene Jamie Greene Conservative

Energy efficiency is an important matter to consider. How many homes in North Ayrshire have benefited from improved insulation as a direct result of Government intervention? Are there plans to increase that percentage?

Photo of Kevin Stewart Kevin Stewart Scottish National Party

I do not have numbers at hand; I will write to Mr Greene in more depth. Over 2,000 households in North Ayrshire have benefited through HEEPS ABS, which often include insulation work. Beyond that, a further 500 households in North Ayrshire have benefited from our warmer homes Scotland scheme, which is focused on helping the most vulnerable households in our society.