Scottish MP secures Westminster debate on fuel poverty
Drew Hendry MP will lead a debate into fuel poverty today to highlight the millions of households in the UK that are unable to keep their home adequately heated.
The Scottish Government has committed half a billion pounds to tackling fuel poverty through a raft of programmes and this year a record budget of £119 million is being made available to fuel poverty and home efficiency schemes.
Mr Hendry, the SNP MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, called on the Chancellor to spell out how the UK government will reduce fuel poverty in the Comprehensive Spending Review.
He said: “Fuel poverty is the quiet and hidden thief in many households, as people’s finances become increasingly pressured due to rising unit costs of electricity. Electricity charged at a premium in the very parts of the UK with the coldest weather and where it gets dark earlier exasperates the growing issue of fuel poverty.
“This is an issue that is affecting the lives of many of my constituents and many more across the Highlands and Islands and elsewhere, it hits those who work as well as those on social security, it hits people with disabilities especially hard and has a hugely detrimental effect on children living in households affected by it.
“The Scottish Government has dedicated over half a billion pounds to tackling fuel poverty and home efficiency programmes since 2009 but the Scottish Government cannot eliminate fuel poverty through energy efficiency alone – 27 per cent of households living in dwellings which have an EPC of B or C are thought to be in fuel poverty.
“The Tories’ ideological obsession with austerity means that many household budgets are being squeezed harder than ever before and that is before taking account of cuts to tax credits and if energy prices continue to rise the problem of fuel poverty will only be exacerbated.
“I urge George Osborne to take a serious look at the impact that fuel poverty has on our communities and to bring forward urgent measures in the spending review tomorrow that will provide real warmth through action for thousands of households across Scotland.”
The Westminster Hall debate on fuel poverty will take place on this afternoon from 4.30-5.30pm.