The Scottish Government has increased its budget for energy, but frozen warm homes funding.
The Holyrood administration’s budget, which was published yesterday, shows that energy spending is set to increase from £80.1 million this year to £93.6 million in 2018/19.
However the cash designated for energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty is £114.3, an increase of just 0.2 per cent on this year’s figure of £114.1 million, according to calculation carried out by the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA).
The Scottish Government said it included support the Low Carbon Innovation Fund for infrastructure, which was included in its recently announced programme for government.
Responding to the budget, Scottish Renewables chief executive Claire Mack welcomed Holyrood’s “continued” commitment to renewable energy.
“It is encouraging that the government recognises renewable energy as a key driver of Scotland’s economy,” she said. “Of note are the funds allocated to support both low-carbon innovation and the decarbonisation of the heat sector – a task which is of critical importance if we are to tackle climate change.
“We also welcome the reaffirmation of the Government’s intention to follow the suggestions contained in the Barclay Review of business rates and to link increases to the Consumer Prices Index, both of which will benefit new and existing green energy generators. We are pleased that Scottish Renewables’ recommendations on these points have been heeded.
However, Sarah Boyack, head of public affairs at the SFHA, expressed concern over the slim pickings in the budget for energy efficiency and tackling fuel poverty, which the Scottish government recently pledged to eradicate.
She said: “We are disappointed to see that there is only an increase of £0.2 million in funding in the draft budget for fuel poverty and energy efficiency. The recent Scottish Household Condition survey showed that there are more housing association households in fuel poverty compared to the national average and, in order to tackle this and invest in energy efficiency, our members will require further funding.”