The SNP’s decision to cut the fuel poverty budget will leave over 200,000 pensioners in the cold, local MSP Jackie Baillie has said.
The SNP Budget cut spending for fuel poverty measures by £15 million -; a 13% cut to the current budget.
There are 224,000 Scottish pensioners living in fuel poverty, including 16,000 pensioners in Argyll and Bute and 13,000 pensioners in West Dunbartonshire, according to the latest figures.
Jackie said that cuts to the fuel poverty budget were short-sighted and counterproductive as it was likely to increase the strain on public services like the NHS and social care with more pensioners at risk.
Scottish Labour delivered free central heating for pensioners in the past and has pledged a Warm Homes Act, which will change building and planning regulations to tackle fuel poverty.
“Nearly 30,000 pensioners in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll and Bute live in fuel poverty. The response of the SNP government to that figure is not to take action, but to slash the budget for fuel poverty measures by more than 10%.
“I was the Minister in the last Labour-led Government that delivered free central heating for pensioners and set an ambitious target to eradicate fuel poverty by 2016. The SNP are going to miss that target by a mile.
“These short-sighted cuts are simply wrong from the SNP. Cutting fuel poverty measures will increase the already huge pressure on public services like the NHS and social care services.
“Labour will deliver a ground-breaking Scottish Warm Homes Act. This will deliver the changes we need to see in planning and building regulations to tackle fuel poverty. The SNP may miss the 2016 target, but Scotland must not give up on ending fuel poverty