MEP Slams UK Government On Fuel Poverty Failures

05 October 2011

Following revelations that over 800 000 Scots are to face another winter of living in 'fuel poverty', SNP Euro MP Alyn Smith has demanded that the Tory/Lib Dem coalition government in London acts now to help Scots who have difficulty heating their homes or passes responsibility to Scotland.

Speaking from Brussels, Alyn said:

"I have written to the Scottish Secretary, Michael Moore, to tell him that the UK Government has to step up to the plate on tackling fuel poverty.

"We know that the Scottish Government has been doing what it can, indeed it has just increased funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency programmes by a record 35 per cent to £66.25 million by 2015, however the Fuel Poverty Monitor makes it clear that the problems are caused by the London government withdrawing enhanced winter fuel payments and shirking responsibility for addressing fuel poverty.

"The report is also clear that the division of powers makes it impossible for the Scottish Government to properly address the issue with parts devolved and parts reserved, leading to confusion and gaps in policy. On top of that, the Tory/Lib Dem government is cutting across devolved areas and creating more confusion while holding onto the funding that's needed to address fuel poverty.

"If London can't get a grip on fuel poverty then the Scottish Government should get the powers to tackle it, either through the current Calman legislation or through section 30 or section 106 of the Scotland Act. Schemes like the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, the Warm Homes Discount and the Community Energy Saving Programme should be controlled in Scotland as should control of winter fuel payments through the benefits system. Regulation of the energy markets should come home, too.

"The coalition government has failed across the UK but the harsher winters and rural populations in Scotland mean a greater need for affordable, efficient heating and additional support for households in terms of both energy efficiency funding and support with fuel costs.

"The Scottish Government can succeed where the London Government has failed. There's no doubt that Downing Street will be properly heated this winter, there's no reason why Scots pensioners and children should only be looking forward to being cold."