First award through £7 million fuel poverty fund.
A project which helps people struggling to heat their homes has become the first to receive a share of a £7 million fund to tackle fuel poverty this winter.
The Fuel Bank Foundation will receive £444,500 to extend its work, which includes providing same-day support to top up prepayment meters for those at risk of disconnection, and help for households that are reliant on solid fuel – often people living in remote and rural communities.
The £7 million for winter fuel is part of the £100 million winter support package announced by the First Minister in November. The remaining funding will be allocated to other projects which help to alleviate fuel poverty.
Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said:
“We know the economic impact of the pandemic is taking its toll and this, combined with increased fuel bills as people spend more time at home, can lead people to struggle.
“The £7 million part of our overall winter support package is being targeted to help those most at need. It complements ongoing work, which includes our Fuel Poverty Act, the most comprehensive legislation of its kind in the UK.
“It will complement the other measures we are funding through the £100 million winter package, which will help those on low incomes, children and people at risk of homelessness or social isolation cope with winter weather and the economic impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) and Brexit.
“The Fuel Bank Foundation does tremendous work to help some of the people most impacted by fuel poverty, including those living in remote and rural areas. I am confident this initial funding award will make a real difference to people’s lives.”
Matthew Cole, chair of trustees at Fuel Bank Foundation, said:
“The Scottish Government’s commitment to providing funding for our fuel banks through the winter will ensure we can continue providing emergency support at a time when many households will be feeling the pinch from increased winter fuel costs and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. We also recognise challenges faced by households using solid fuels and are pleased to be able to introduce support in these situations too.
“Tighter COVID-19 restrictions will mean people spending more time at home and therefore using more energy on heating and lighting and putting extra pressure on their already stretched finances.
“As a charitable trust we rely on funding from central and devolved government, local authorities, energy companies, and other charitable organisations. Their financial support is invaluable to us and to those in society who depend on it the most.”
Other Scottish Government initiatives to alleviate fuel poverty include:
- providing an additional £42 million for the Scottish Welfare Fund to support those struggling with increased household energy bills during the pandemic, along with increased housing support
· supporting more than 100 organisations through the Wellbeing and Supporting Communities Funds to help those struggling with their energy costs funding for Home Energy Scotland, which continues to provide free advice and support to those who are vulnerable to the adverse effects of living in a cold damp home – last year it provided advice to more than 30,000 people in or at risk of fuel poverty