A new report has underlined the SNP’s failure to tackle fuel poverty, with one-third of all households in East Lothian now considered to be fuel poor.

The report of the Scottish Fuel Poverty Strategic Working Group outlines a number of recommendations to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland. The last Labour-led Scottish Government set a target to abolish fuel poverty by November 2016, but the new report admits that the situation is ‘significantly worse’ now and that fuel poverty in Scotland has doubled since the targets were established.

Local MSP Iain Gray said:

“No one in Scotland should have to choose between heating or eating in 2016, yet under the SNP government fuel poverty has continued to rise. The last Labour-led government set a target to eradicate fuel poverty in Scotland by November this year, but that target is going to be missed by a mile by the SNP.

“Here in East Lothian, around one-third of households are considered to be living in fuel poverty. The reality of that figure is that over the coming winter hundreds of local children will be cold in their own homes and that simply is not acceptable in 2016.

“Labour will consider this report carefully; tackling fuel poverty should be one of the central aims of this parliament. The SNP government really need to get their act together – the time for talking is over we need action from a government that in 10 years has failed to get a grip.

“Labour wants to see a Warm Homes Act to drive up standards and regulations. We also need to stop the cuts to local councils. That’s why Labour will propose amendments to the upcoming Scottish budget to introduce a penny for public services on income tax to stop the cuts and invest instead.”

Labour Leader of East Lothian Council, Cllr Willie Innes added:

“It is shameful that so many households in East Lothian remain in fuel poverty. It is one of the reasons why we established the East Lothian Poverty Commission to help reinforce local action to support people out of fuel poverty. We will certainly take on board the report’s recommendations and continue to do all we can to help local residents.

“However, year on year cuts to the Council’s budget imposed by SNP Ministers have certainly not helped efforts to tackle this enduring problem. If the SNP finally wants to get serious about reducing fuel poverty then they must support local authorities and give us the funds we need to make a real difference.”

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