Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has called on the Scottish Government to redouble its efforts to tackle fuel poverty after two advisory groups published their reports and made over 100 recommendations today.
In Orkney, according to the latest Scottish Housing Statistics, fuel poverty is on the rise with 63% of households in Orkney classed as fuel poor and 30% of households judged to be in extreme fuel poverty, more than anywhere else in Scotland.
In response to the publications, Mr McArthur reiterated calls on the Scottish Government to create catch-up zones to tackle fuel poverty in remote and island areas which have fallen behind in getting homes insulated and warm.
Commenting Mr McArthur said:
“It is unacceptable that in a modern society, families still face the impossible choice between heating their homes or putting food on the table.
“This is a problem that affects all parts of the country, but levels of fuel poverty in our rural and island areas are consistently and persistently higher than anywhere else. As well as embedding responsibility for tackling fuel poverty right across government, Ministers must recognise the specific problems faced by these communities and the tailored responses that will be needed.
“I firmly believe the Scottish Government must urgently establish catch-up zones and direct public investment to help those communities which need it most, such as here in Orkney.
“For a year, however, Ministers denied they were failing to meet their fuel poverty target. With these reports, there can be no excuse now for not redoubling efforts to tackle this scourge.”
Note to editors:
- The Rural Fuel Poverty Task Force’s report can be found here
- The Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group's report can be found here
- The Scottish Liberal Democrats 2016 manifesto stated that “we will establish catch-up zones for warmer homes and to tackle fuel poverty in remote and island areas which have fallen behind and need more flexibility in the installation requirements”.