Scottish Government extends support for three energy schemes to help more people with heating costs



The Scottish Government has announced more than £160 million of funding is being invested this year to help make homes and buildings warmer and more efficient, supporting efforts to tackle fuel poverty while helping householders manage their energy bills and reduce carbon emissions.

In response to the cost of living crisis, three Scottish Government energy efficiency and heat programs will be boosted from April.

These include expanding the Home Energy Scotland (HES) advice service, widening the eligibility criteria of the Scottish Government’s Warmer Homes Scotland fuel poverty program and increasing the level of funding households can benefit from the local authority-led Area Based Schemes to help with fuel bills .

Zero Carbon Buildings Minister Patrick Harvie said: “Everyone needs a safe, warm place to call home. I am acutely aware that soaring energy prices will be causing many people to worry about the cost of their fuel bills and it is vital that people struggling with energy bills get the information and support they need, while governments step up with appropriate actions.

“We are using all powers and resources available to us to support people through the cost of living crisis and the Scottish Budget last month included a package of measures to provide immediate help with rising bills. At the same time, powers relating to energy markets remain reserved and we have repeatedly called for the UK Government to urgently take further, tangible actions to support households.”

However, I have added that immediate help also has to go side by side with longer term action.

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He explained: “Investing in energy efficiency is the best buffer against the ebb and flow of global energy prices. That is why we are boosting energy efficiency programs today and over the whole parliamentary term.”

Expanding the Home Energy Scotland (HES) advice service

This provides free, impartial advice available to all households in Scotland on making homes warmer, greener and easier to heat.

Capacity will be increased by 20% to support an extra 12,000 households a year, while a service offering bespoke advice to the most vulnerable households will be doubled.

The Home Energy Scotland Loan and Cashback Scheme currently enables homeowners to apply for up to £7,500 in cashback if they take out a loan to install green heating systems, such as a heat pump, as well as up to £6,000 towards eligible energy efficiency measures to reduce poor energy efficiency.

Home Energy Scotland can be contacted on their freephone number 0808 808 2282 or via the Home Energy Scotland website here.

Wider eligibility for Warmer Homes Scotland fuel poverty program

Eligibility criteria will now expand to include more groups within the 60-75 year age range.

£50 million is being invested in the scheme to help households in fuel poverty make their homes warmer and more affordable to heat.

More support from local councils

The Scottish Government is also increasing the level of funding individual fuel poor households could benefit from through the local authority-led Area Based Schemes.

£64 million is being invested in Area Based Schemes, targeting communities coping with fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency, reducing costs and carbon emissions from heating their homes.

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As part of a wider £290 million package of funding announcements made to tackle the cost of living crisis, in 2022/23 the Scottish Government will also commit a further £10 million to continue the Fuel Insecurity Fund.

The fund has helped households at risk of self-disconnection, or self-rationing their energy use, since late 2020.

If you are worried about rising energy bills, contact your supplier and your local council to find out if you are eligible for any financial support.




www.dailyrecord.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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