Fuel poverty fight gets £1.3m funding boost

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Households across the region will benefit from a £1.3million funding allocation for energy efficiency work from the Scottish Government.

The announcement of the £1,332,506 windfall, through Home Energy Efficiency Programmes for Scotland, has been welcomed by the council and a local MSP.

The Government expects local authorities to target areas of fuel poverty and work with housing associations, energy companies, installers, owner-occupiers and private rented landlords to ensure all households in those area receive an offer to have the energy efficiency of their home improved.

Locally, the money will be used to fund specific projects targeting parts of Hawick and Denholm and Galashiels.

A council spokesman said: “We are delighted with the announcement from the Scottish Government that SBC has been awarded £1.3million in funding to improve the energy efficiency of homes across the region.”

Referring to the areas where the money will be spent, he added: “These areas have been selected in accordance with Scottish Borders Council’s local housing strategy and according to a combination of vulnerability to fuel poverty and potential for energy efficiency measures.”

A variety of improvements will be available to certain householders, including loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, external wall insulation, connection to gas main, and double glazing.

The funding for the region has been welcomed by local MSP Christine Grahame.

She said: “This money will see many homes in my constituency receive new measures like solid-wall insulation, which will help drive down the number of people living in fuel poverty.

“It will also generate work and support jobs, which will provide a much-needed boost to the local economy.”

Ms Grahame added: “Basic energy efficiency measures can make a huge difference to families in my constituency who are struggling to make ends meet.”

In the Borders, the latest figures showed that 37 per cent of households were classed as being in fuel poverty, spending at least 10 per cent of their income on heating.

Pensioner households suffer from fuel poverty particularly badly, with 62 per cent of those households in the area defined as being in fuel poverty.