Boiler offer in £5.4m energy scheme

Thousands of households could have their fuel bills cut thanks to a £5.4 million energy efficiency scheme.

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As many as 2,000 properties in rural Scotland could get free boilers or have insulation fitted as part of an energy efficiency scheme

Thousands of households could have their fuel bills cut thanks to a £5.4 million energy efficiency scheme.

As many as 2,000 properties in rural Scotland could get free boilers or have insulation fitted as part of the project, which is being funded by the Scottish Government and energy company SSE.

Both homeowners and tenants in private rental houses who are in receipt of certain benefits could be eligible for the help.

SSE is providing up to £4 million, with the power firm now working with councils in Argyll and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Moray, Dundee, Perth and Kinross, Falkirk, Fife and North Ayrshire to roll out the scheme.

The Scottish Government is contributing £1.4 million from its home energy efficiency programme for Scotland for the initiative - which is also aimed at helping people in fuel poverty or those who suffer from poor health, with doctors and nurses able to refer those they think might benefit.

Housing minister Margaret Burgess said: "Rising energy bills remain a huge concern for this Government.

"The Scottish Government's funding will potentially see thousands of homes receive measures like new boilers and loft and cavity wall insulation.

"The Scottish Government is determined to help householders stay warm and reduce their energy bills.

"Basic energy efficiency measures can make a huge difference to Scottish families who are struggling to make ends meet, allowing them to heat their homes more cost effectively.

"To help tackle fuel poverty we are actively working with councils and energy companies to ensure that Scotland continues to get its fair share of funding for efficiency programmes like these."

SSE area development manager David Smith said: "This scheme is one of the many projects we are committed to under the Energy Company Obligation.

"It's important that we tackle the problem of fuel poverty and improving energy efficiency of homes is a key way of achieving that.

"This new funding partnership with the Scottish Government and the introduction of new referral channels via health professionals and care organisations will help ensure more energy efficiency installations happen for those who need it most, which is great news for households across Scotland."

Norman Kerr, director of fuel poverty charity Energy Action Scotland, said: "SSE and the Scottish Government are to be commended for working together to assist people living in energy-inefficient homes who would otherwise miss out.

"Rural areas are often worst affected by fuel poverty and so it is good news that people there will benefit from this new funding.

"It is also recognised that living in a cold home can be bad for health and therefore it makes sense to work with medical professionals who can refer people to get assistance."