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23 November 2007

Stevenson Welcomes Extra Measures for Central Heating Programme

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed extra measures announced as part of the Government’s Central Heating Programme which will benefit hundreds of pensioner households in Scotland.

£7 million has been allocated to deliver help to eligible pensioners who have the greatest need and are without heating and hot water this winter. Capacity in this year’s programme will also be heightened and installations increased by 1,600 to 15,000 this financial year – more than in any previous year of the programme.

Commenting Mr. Stevenson said;

I am delighted that the SNP Government has taken this practical step to protect vulnerable pensioners in Banff & Buchan and across Scotland who are without heating and hot water in these the coldest months of the year. .

“This is a pragmatic response by the Scottish Government to the problems faced by pensioners whose existing system has broken down beyond repair. It will give extra priority to these pensioners and extend the capacity of the Central Heating Programme to avoid longer waiting lists and ensure that the system reaches the most vulnerable groups in our communities.

“Fuel poverty is an issue frequently raised with me by my constituents in Banff & Buchan and these measures will go a long way to tackling that problem. I am extremely pleased to see that the SNP Government is addressing the issue of fuel poverty by improving the Central Heating Programme and making it more responsive to the needs of pensioners in Scotland.”


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Notes to editors:
Scottish Gas, which manages the central heating programme, will identify from existing information from applicants and inspections, those who are likely to be without heating and hot water and those who are the most vulnerable. Those people will be given greater priority than they have at present.
The central heating programme helps pensioners in fuel poverty by providing a new central heating system where they do not have one or, for pensioners most likely to be in fuel poverty, replacing partial and inefficient systems. The programme also replaces systems that have broken beyond repair.
This is not an emergency repair scheme and the greatest impact on fuel poverty is achieved where a system is provided for the first time. The practical situation is that a pensioner who is eligible for a new system and whose present system is broken beyond repair, may not be able to make other arrangements until the system is replaced. This is a particularly acute problem in the winter.
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