Thousands of Vulnerable Households in Scotland will be supported by the continuation of the Scottish Governments uprated £20 million Fuel Insecurity Fund.
The extension was announced as last week’s Scottish Budget for 2023-24 and means that third sector partners will be able to continue providing support to households, on any tariff type and any fuel type, who are at risk of self-disconnection or self-rationing their energy use.
Speaking on the extension Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings and Tenants’ Rights Patrick Harvie said: “Everyone needs a safe, warm and affordable place to call home and yet despite this we know that many people are struggling under the weight of their energy bills and wider cost of living pressures. Last week, the Scottish Budget confirmed £366m for insulating homes and buildings and tackling fuel poverty as part of our £1.8 billion commitment to Heat in Buildings over this Parliament.
“That is essential work to make sure that Scotland has warmer homes which are cheaper to heat for decades ahead. We also need the full range of powers on matters like energy pricing, consumer protection and energy supply to make the biggest possible difference. But right now, the Fuel Insecurity Fund is a lifeline to many people struggling most with fuel poverty which is why we have made the commitment for next year.”
The money to extend the scheme was originally earmarked for providing an independence referendum in 2023, but following the Supreme Court ruling it will be redistributed as part of the budget for 2023-24.
The budget added additional steps to address inequality while tackling the climate emergency including investment of over £366 million to support the delivery of the Heat in Building Strategy.
The decisions taken through the Emergency Budget Review in November enabled the Scottish Government to provide additional immediate support to people most impacted by the cost of living crisis, specifically rising energy prices, by doubling the Fuel Insecurity Fund to £20 million this year. The Scottish Budget is now protecting that investment into 2023-24.
It is vital that those worried about, or struggling with, heating their homes access the information and support they need to reduce their energy bills. The Scottish Government recently provided £1.2 million of extra funding to key agencies including Advice Direct Scotland, Home Energy Scotland and Citizens Advice Scotland, to help those struggling to pay their bills and heat their homes.