Victory for Friends of the Earth Scotland could bring triple win for green jobs, fuel poverty and climate change
In one of the fastest campaign victories in Friends of the Earth Scotland’s history, after just a week the Scottish Government agreed to the group’s calls for funding to tackle fuel poverty and boost energy efficiency.
An extra £55 million of spending was announced, to be dedicated to energy efficiency, fuel poverty reduction and decarbonisation of heating in Scottish buildings. The majority of extra cash comes from £1.1bn of coronavirus support in Scotland from the UK treasury, as well as the Scottish Government’s own budget agreed with the Green Party.
A formidable alliance
Friends of the Earth Scotland had been calling for a boost for energy efficiency as part of their work on a Just and Green Recovery, and joined forces with the Existing Homes Alliance (a coalition of housing, anti-poverty, energy advice and industry organisations), and Living Rent (a tenant’s union).
The alliance jointly demanded funding for fuel poverty and energy efficiency to be increased by £100 million – arguing there could be a “triple win” for green jobs, fuel poverty and climate change.
Caroline Rance, Friends of the Earth Scotland’s Climate and Energy Campaigner said:
“This extra cash is a really welcome step, even if the total still falls shy of what is needed to drive the transformative change required in energy efficiency and fuel poverty. Choosing to invest in warmer homes can create a triple win for jobs, public health and the fight against climate change. It is welcome to see the Scottish Government responding to recent calls from housing, environment and anti-poverty groups.
“Scotland needs a green jobs recovery that drives up demand in key areas like energy efficiency, public transport and skills training.”
Combating energy poverty
Housing is currently responsible for 15% of Scotland’s emissions, while one in four households are affected by fuel poverty. With citizens spending more time at home during the coronavirus pandemic, there are also concerns that increasing fuel bills will have a financial impact on some.
As Scotland goes to the polls on 6th May, Friends of the Earth Scotland will continue to press for immediate action to create good green jobs that reduce climate emissions and strengthen Scotland’s recovery.
Ellinore Folkesson, chair of Living Rent, said:
“Tenants across Scotland are having to choose between eating and turning on the heating, especially now as the pandemic has squeezed people’s income. Many are living in cold, damp homes and suffering from health problems as a result.“