FUEL POVERTY: HARVIE CHALLENGES SWINNEY OVER BUDGET CUT
Patrick Harvie MSP, Economy and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today challenged Finance Secretary John Swinney in parliament over the Scottish Government's proposed cut to fuel poverty funding.
The draft 2016/17 Scottish budget proposes £103.3million for fuel poverty measures such as efficient heating systems for people's homes, but this is a drop of £15.7million compared to the current financial year.
At this morning's Energy and Economy Committee, Mr Harvie pointed out that such a cut is at odds with the Scottish Government's promise over a year ago that energy efficient housing would become a National Infrastructure Priority.
In response to Mr Harvie's questioning, Mr Swinney described the budget as "static" and blamed the UK Government.
Patrick Harvie, Economy and Energy spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for Glasgow, said:
"The Finance Secretary's answers today will provide no comfort for the 845,000 households in Scotland in fuel poverty. It is disappointing that ministers are still not committing to the scale of investment required, particularly when we see the government happily spending extra millions on motorways and a consultation on fracking. Instead they could be directing resources towards measures that would improve people's quality of life right now.
"I challenged the Finance Secretary to say when we can expect the funding that a national priority merits - 2, 3 or 4 years' time - but he was unable to say. With the government's own target of eradicating fuel poverty this year in tatters, it is clear that we need a stronger Green voice at Holyrood to push ministers to go further and faster to end this national scandal."