Low take-up for green council tax discount

A GREEN council tax discount scheme designed to encourage people to make their homes more energy efficient has only been taken up by a handful of homes in the Borders since it was launched.

The Scottish Government introduced the initiative three years ago, allowing householders to claim a council tax rebate if insulation was installed in their homes. But figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request have shown that only 161 households in the Borders have taken up the scheme since 2010/11. Local MSP John Lamont is calling on the SNP Government to do more to promote the scheme, and encourage more Borderers to take advantage of the practical and financial benefits it brings.

Local MSP John Lamont said: “The take up of this scheme has been pitiful throughout Scotland, and although there have been slightly more applications in the Borders than elsewhere, there is clearly room for improvement. For only 161 homes to have taken advantage of this scheme since 2011/12 is proof that more needs to be done by the SNP Government to promote it.

“The point of this scheme was to encourage households to be greener and to cut down on the amount of energy they have to use. It is important that we do everything that we can to reduce our carbon footprint and this scheme offers a financial reward to those who do.

“However, as so few people have taken up the scheme it is clear that it needs to be publicised more. We need to offer every encouragement to reduce energy use and yet this scheme is already in place and hardly being used.

“The SNP Government needs to explain why the uptake has been so poor and what they intend to do to get this project back on track. The Scottish Parliament has passed world-leading legislation but the SNP have failed to deliver it on the ground.”

John Lamont added: “I would encourage all households in the Borders to take steps towards being more green and take advantage of this discount. Not only can insulation in your home reduce your energy bills but it will also qualify you for a rebate in your council tax.”