Scotland’s Housing Minister climbed Ravenscraig flats in Kirkcaldy yesterday to announce a £60million fund for fuel poverty.
Margaret Burgess, who inspected external insulation work on the tower blocks, said it was a “scandal there should be fuel poverty in an energy-rich nation like Scotland.”
The Home Energy Efficiency Programme for Scotland (HEEPS) will enable local authorities to install solid wall, cavity and loft insulation in communities – Fife Council will receive £2,933,009.
Mrs Burgess commented: “Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this government. The £60million investment will help households in fuel poor areas stay warm and reduce their heating bills.”
The investment would also reduce carbon emissions and support the insulation industry, she added, but only an independent Scotland would fix all the causes of fuel poverty.
“We plan to transfer responsibility for ECO and Warm Homes Discount permanently from energy companies to the Scottish Government , meeting these costs from central resources,” she said. “By passing on these long term reductions to their consumers, companies would be able to reduce bills year-on-year.”
Mrs Burgess also met Bill Taylor (74), who has lived in the middle tower block for 10 years.
“ The work’s made a big difference,” Bill told the Press.
“There were always draughts and the heating bills were horrendous at times but since the work, was done we’ve hardly had the heating on all winter.
“We got the offer of a cottage and I said to my wife’No way!’ I’m staying here - I’m quite happy.”
Cllr Neil Crooks, who attend the visit, said he understood external cladding had made a phenomenal difference to residents’ lives.
“Similar works have been done elsewhere in Kirkcaldy and it’s the same story that keeps coming back,” he commented.
“It would be great to be able to do more of our flats in Kirkcaldy, like Ailsa Grove and St Kilda Crescent, for example, where many walls are black with dampness.
He concluded: “We know over cladding resolves the problem and any future funding sources from the government would be very welcome.”
Cllr Judy Hamilton, Fife Council spokesman for housing:
“We are delighted to receive £2,933,009 from the Scottish Government so we can continue to improve the lives of people by making their homes warmer and cheaper to heat.
“We have also received £2.5m funding from Scottish Gas via the Energy Company Obligation to transform over 250 homes in the area.”