SBC receive funding to tackle fuel poverty

SCOTTISH Borders Council is one of many local authorities across Scotland who will benefit from new Government funding aimed at combatting fuel poverty.

The council will get a share of £380,000 from a £12.5 million Universal Home Insulation Scheme designed to help residents in 200,000 homes save on energy bills.

The scheme offers a range of free home insulation measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce fuel poverty.

Commenting on the funding, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure and Capital Investment Alex Neil, said: “With the onset of winter just round the corner, now more than ever, we need to offer support and immediate assistance to those most in need to help them heat their homes.

“That is why, through this scheme, we are injecting millions of pounds in our fight to help stamp out fuel poverty. Councils across Scotland who successfully bid for the cash will administer the scheme.

“Price hikes by energy companies continue to undermine the Scottish Government’s attempts to lift people out of fuel poverty.

“It is a disgrace that so many people are suffering from fuel poverty in energy-rich Scotland, and the Scottish Parliament needs full powers so that we can do more to help those in most need.”

Scottish Borders Council said the new batch of funding should help them build on the work they’ve already done to try and to prevent people in the region from falling into fuel poverty.

Cathie Fancy, Group Manager (Housing Strategy & Services) commented: “We are really pleased with the outcome of this second UHIS bid, resulting in the Council securing a further £380,000 to help improve insulation measures in people’s homes in the Borders.

“This will enable us to build on previous success when we spent £378,603 helping 296 households receive loft insulation, 357 households receive cavity wall insulation and 693 households with loft top ups.

Berwickshire and the Borders as a whole were among the worst hit areas at the end of both 2009 and 2010, where freezing temperatures, coupled with heavy snow fall led to many people experiencing problems with their boilers.

Welcoming the funding, Berwickshire MSP, John Lamont said he hoped that those most affected by the harsh winters of the last two years would be among the first to benefit.

He commented: “I am pleased that households in the Borders will benefit from this scheme to improve efficiency and drive down domestic fuel bills.

“With fuel prices continuing to rise, householders in the Borders need any help they can get in keeping their bills under control.

“Furthermore, the last two winters have been particularly bad and people have been hit particularly hard in the pocket for their fuel bills. This Government scheme is to be welcomed and I hope it makes a real difference in helping those who need it most.”