Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale has pledged action on fuel poverty as she condemned the Scottish Government’s “short-sighted decision” to cut funding for tackling the problem by £15 million.
Ms Dugdale said if she becomes first minister after May’s Holyrood election, Labour will bring in a “ground-breaking” Scottish Warm Homes Act.
This legislation will “deliver the changes we need to see in planning and building regulations to tackle fuel poverty”, she added.
She was speaking about the issue ahead of addressing Labour Party members in Inverness, saying that in 2016 “no family in Scotland should have to choose between heating and eating”.
The Labour-led Scottish executive set the target of abolishing fuel poverty by 2016, but Ms Dugdale said: “We know the SNP Government will miss that target.”
She went on to say that budget cuts which will reduce spending on tackling fuel poverty by more than £15 million to £103.3 million in 2016-17 “will be devastating for low income families and pensioners in Inverness and all across Scotland”.
Ms Dugdale said: “More than half of all pensioners live in fuel poverty and so do one in five families. This is an incredibly short-sighted decision from the SNP that will hurt the incomes and health of vulnerable people across Scotland.
“Scottish Labour will deliver a ground-breaking Scottish Warm Homes Act. This will deliver the changes we need to see in planning and building regulations to tackle fuel poverty.
“With new powers coming to Scotland we have the chance to really do things differently. After a decade in office and with a majority in Parliament, there are no excuses for the SNP failing to deal with fuel poverty.”