Fuel poverty in Scotland has increased dramatically in the past few years. Over 900,000 households in Scotland are suffering from fuel poverty. This is a national scandal.
Here in East Lothian there are at least 11,000 households in fuel poverty. We know with the recent inflation busting increases of the energy companies that the number is even higher.
Despite all the rhetoric from the SNP, the number of households in fuel poverty has actually gone up since 2007. The Scottish Government has failed to spend the money it has to combat this growing scourge.
Iain Gray MSP has called for the SNP to turn their words into action, following a Scottish Labour-led debate in the Scottish Parliament on the 23rd of April to discuss the growing crisis.
Iain Gray MSP said:
“Fuel poverty is a national scandal which is affecting more Scots every year. Here in East Lothian, around a quarter of all households are suffering fuel poverty. While this is slightly below the Scottish average, it is still far too high and means that many thousands of local people struggle to afford to heat their homes.
“The SNP talk a lot about how things might be better after independence, but households need help now. There is some support available currently, and anyone in East Lothian who is struggling to pay their energy bills or wants advice should seek help from agencies such as their local CAB, Energy Action Scotland and Carers of East Lothian.
“However, it’s really important for the Scottish Government to do more. I find it outrageous that the SNP have failed to spend the money they have on helping to insulate homes and helping to reduce fuel bills. What is even worse is that the SNP are refusing to back our calls for an energy price freeze.
“Alex Salmond has met with the ‘Big 6’ energy companies eight times since 2010. Not once has he ever asked them to freeze their prices. Not once has the SNP’s Energy Minister asked them to cut their bills.
“So rather than speaking up for our poorest, Alex Salmond would instead back the big energy companies. As thousands more Scots slip into fuel poverty because of his government’s incompetence, Alex Salmond takes the side of big business.
“Fuel poverty is a disgrace. Scottish Labour backs an energy price freeze and a reform of the energy market to break up the ‘Big 6’ energy companies. Why won’t the SNP?”
Any East Lothian residents who are struggling to heat their home should seek help and advice from Energy Action Scotland www.eas.org.uk, Carers of East Lothian www.coel.org.uk, Citizens Advice Scotland www.cas.org.uk or by phoning the Home Heat Helpline on 0800 33 66 99.