As the Scottish Parliament considered final amendments to the Fuel Poverty (Scotland) Bill this afternoon, Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur welcomed changes that strengthen requirements on every local authority to meet targets for reducing fuel poverty in their area. Amendments were also passed that allow targets to be brought forward, based on the advice of the independent advisory panel.
These additional changes follow successful amendments lodged by Mr McArthur earlier in the process, which will ensure proper account is taken of the needs of those in island and remote, rural communities. A Rural Minimum Income Standard allows specific account to be taken of the higher costs faced by those in rural and island areas.
Commenting after the debate this afternoon, Mr McArthur said:
“Over the past year, I have worked closely with local stakeholders and the Scottish Government to strengthen this Bill. Levels of fuel poverty and extreme fuel poverty are highest in our island and remote, rural communities, so this legislation has to be able to make a genuine difference to households in these areas.
“In reality, however, there are no communities that are unaffected by this issue. That is why I welcome the decision by parliament today to back amendments that will ensure progress is made towards eradicating fuel poverty across every local authority in the country.
“It is also important that we allow for the targets to be brought forward, if evidence suggests this is achievable. Again, parliament has voted to support changes that will enable this to happen.
“Passing amendments is the easy part, however. We now need to make sure that this legislation does what it says on the tin and delivers for people in Orkney and communities across Scotland.”