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Scottish govt in £4.5m energy efficiency push

A new energy efficiency initiative in Scotland is being launched, with the aim of helping around 1,700 households manage their bills more effectively.

Details of the programme - the Green Homes Cashback Scheme - have been revealed by the Scottish government, with council houses and properties that are managed by social housing organisations set to reap the benefits.

Grants totalling £4.5 million will be shared out between 24 councils and social landlords - the measures were revealed just before a debate in Holyrood on affordable homes.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess broke the news, after declaring that the issue of fuel poverty in Scotland was "scandalous", particularly when one considers the country is energy-rich.

"Through the scheme we are helping social landlords and councils upgrade their properties with energy efficiency measures, which will in turn will save residents’ money on fuel bills and cut emissions," she said.

Ms Burgess also commented how the government has been committed to improving energy efficiency for a number of years, with the aim of contributing towards the continual development of social justice, inequality and communities.

Housebuilding per head in Scotland is outperforming other parts of the UK and the country's leaders have invested £1.7 billion in affordable homes over the lifetime of the current parliament.

However, with 21,000 properties now constructed, ministers are still short of an overall 30,000 target - meaning there is likely to be further investment in new energy efficient dwellings in the future.

Social housing and council accommodation is considered to be an extremely vulnerable sector to the effects of fuel poverty, with many families reportedly struggling to adapt to recent welfare reforms.

With the cold season approaching, measures like solid wall insulation could prove to be essential in helping to keep the cost of heating their homes down. 

Posted by Rachel Jenkins