Winter warmer

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Weather forecasters have been predicting the average temperature is set to start reaching -5 or -6 degrees Celsius this week in Scottish towns and cities, with ­predictions of as low as -12c in some places.

Could there be any more biting reminder of the pressing need to tackle fuel poverty in Scotland?

Scottish Government figures showed that up to 60 per cent of those living in the Western Isles were either in or at high risk of fuel poverty and all ­evidence shows that the length and breadth of Scotland fuel poverty continues to rise, forcing more and more into the nightmarish “heat or eat” dilemma.

As regards this fuel poverty crisis, it is increasingly clear that Westminster will never take action for the people against the corporations.

At best ministers might suggest the companies play nicely.

There are clear solutions though. While moves such as returning the energy industry into public ownership might be opposed by Westminster, we can still start piling on the pressure.

Indeed, there is much Holyrood and our local councils ­already have the power to do.

We should move to start building well insulated council houses in large numbers; to increase the winter fuel allowance; to impose a windfall tax on the big energy companies; even to increase investment in helping families afford domestic energy saving programmes, such as new insulation or more efficient boilers.

The Scottish Socialist Party has a strong record on standing up against fuel poverty and the time Scotland took action is long overdue.

Let’s make sure that by next year we’ll have a Christmas where the scourge of fuel poverty is long gone.

Calum Martin

Scottish Socialist Party

Edinburgh